Professional athletes and celebrities including Nationals pitcher Collin Balester have teamed up with TwitChange, an online organizing and fundraising service to raise money for Operation Once in a Lifetime. The TwitChange campaign is led by Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who recruited dozens of fellow athletes and celebrities on Twitter to join his cause.
From today through Feb. 5, fans can bid on Twitter-inspired auctions featuring their favorite celebrities and athletes including @BallyStar40.
When a fan wins an auction, that celebrity will follow, re-tweet or mention the fan from his or her Twitter account. Participating baseball players include Balester, Mike Leake, Gordon Beckham, John Axford, Reid Brignac, Will Rhymes, Hunter Pence, Gaby Sanchez, Dee Gordon, Sam LeCure, Jesse Litsch and Billy Butler.
"I wish this was going on when I was little," Balester said of the campaign. "I would have found a way to win on some of these celebrities in this auction. I think it's a lot of fun for fans and it goes to a great cause."
Polamalu has praised the power of social networking to connect athletes directly to the fans. The TwitChange campaign is just another way to encourage interaction, while supporting a good cause.
"I thinks it's really important to interact with fans on Twitter, Facebook and my own Web site because it shows that athletes know and appreciate that fans are the biggest part of sports," Balester continued. "Without them, what would any athlete or celebrity be?"
All proceeds from the auction benefit Operation Once in a Lifetime, a nonprofit organization that provides free financial and morale support to U.S service members, their families and veterans regardless of rank, deployment, physical condition or branch of service.