On Monday night, Nelson Figueroa put his celebrity to good use and hosted a charity bowling event at Lucky Strike Lanes in Manhattan. The event was a benefit for Team Lifeline, a subsidiary of Chai Lifeline and, specifically, Team Peri, named for Peri Finkelstein, a young lady who Figueroa met in 2009 and inspired him to put on this event. Peri, though confined to a wheelchair, has used Chai Lifeline to help raise money for other children in need.
In addition to the tickets sold to get in the door, the event had a number of auction items, including David Wright batting practice-used cleats and a private pitching lesson with Figueroa. Some of the online auctions are still active.
"[The event had a] tremendous turnout, it is overwhelming," said Figueroa. "The love and supporting from friends, family, and fans—now they're family because they wanted to go on this adventure with me. Team Peri, of course, we're trying to send her off to Miami."
Figueroa mentions Miami, as that is where Peri and her team will be running and walking the last mile of the Miami Marathon. Figueroa has agreed to walk a half marathon as well, in solidarity with Peri. For more information about Team Lifeline, check out their website, and look at the Facebook page for Team Peri.
The event also featured celebrity guests like Mets Hall of Fame inductee John Franco, former major league pitcher Frank Rodriguez, former Mets general manager Jim Duquette, Gotham star David Mazouz, and more.
Figueroa has plans to make the event an annual affair, perhaps focusing next year on a passion project of his, bringing youth baseball back to Coney Island.