A Personal Mission
Danny Cruz auctions off his hunky Houston Dynamo teammates for a cause: Buy adate with a soccer stud
Danny Cruz isn't your average 21-year-old. He's a midfielder in his third season with the Houston Dynamo and now he's a nominee for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man of the Year.
Cruz says that giving back has always been an important part of his life, but it was his role on the Dynamo and a chance meeting with Brendon Farmer, an elementary-school-aged leukemia patient at Texas Children's Hospital, that spurred his involvement with the charity.
"I had a close friend of mine from Arizona who passed away, he fell off a balcony, it was this really unfortunate tragedy," Cruz tells CultureMap. "He was a teammate of mine so every time I would step on the field he was the first thing I thought of. It happened right before a big game, so I wrote his initials on my cleats, just in memory of him, and after the game I was talking to Brendon and he put a smile on my face.
"I knew a little about him, about the struggles he was going through, and I went back out there and I gave him the cleats. I'd only worn them once and I gave them to Brendon because I was going through such a rough time, and this kid had cancer and was smiling and loving life. And that's how (my friend) Connor was, he put a smile on anybody's face, he was always happy.
"That's the thing about Brendon, obviously he had his down times but the majority of the time he just stayed positive. I gave him the cleats because I wanted to share that moment with him."
The post-game meeting was the beginning of the friendship between Cruz and Farmer, and it was through Farmer that Cruz got the LLS nomination. Cruz is taking donations online — it's essentially a fundraising competition between people around the country from all walks of life — but he's also working with his teammates and the Dynamo organization. And he's single-handedly organizing a fundraising bash called Cruzin' for a Cure, taking place April 30 at Drink Houston, with only a $10 donation for admission.
"It's going to be a great time with great food and drinks for a great cause," Cruz says.
It's also a night every Houston girl (and guy) should put on their calendar. Not only will Cruz's Dynamo teammates be in attendance, but 11 players on the hottest team in Houston — including Cruz himself — will be putting themselves up for the highest bidder in a bachelor auction.
There also will be a silent auction at the event where attendees can bid on other experiences, including having Cruz coach your kid's soccer team for a game, private individual coaching sessions from Dynamo players and rounds of golf with team members.
"To be able to raise money for such a great cause is not something that everyone gets to do everyday, so I'm treasuring it," Cruz says. "I asked almost everyone on our team for something to help me out, whether it's their time or a signed jersey, and they've all said yes. They've been great, I can't say enough about them. My teammates are top notch."
When asked what raising money for the charity on this level means to him, Cruz talks in very personal terms about how the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society helps and supports families dealing with cancer in addition to sponsoring research and treatment.
"I come from a family that struggled, big time, financially," Cruz says. "So I know what it's like to not have money. And I know what it's like to not be able to do things that I want to do, let alone if I was in that situation. If something like this was to happen to me as a kid the only way I'd be able to get through it is with something like this. If you as a family are already dealing with cancer, finances should be the last thing on your mind. The problem is that in this world today it can't be."
The only question left is what Dynamo player to bid on at Cruz'in for a Cure. Kofi Sarkodie? Mike Chabala? Cruz?
As part of this continuing series, CultureMap will be conducting a thorough investigation of the date-worthiness of each player — their off- and on-field skills — so you don't have to. You'll be able to cast your own vote on which man you prefer in regular CulturePolls throughout the series as well.