Good Sports: Former Bulldog and Miami Marlins pitcher Dylan Lee starts foundation

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- When Dylan Lee was in elementary school he broke his leg in a bicycle accident.

"They had to put four pins starting at my knee, going up to my hip... I don't think I'd be able to play sports if it wasn't for Valley Children's and the surgery they performed here," he says.

The surgery allowed the Dinuba High grad to have a successful baseball career. In 2016 Lee was drafted in the tenth round by the Miami Marlins out of Fresno State.

"Something that I started when I got drafted and something that I wanted to do even before I got drafted is start a foundation and give back to Valley Children's because of what they've done for me," he says.

"Dylan experienced the value of Valley Children's as a child, was a patient. That experience was indelible, at some point he wanted to do something and give back and help children like he was at the time. It's a great story, it's a moving story and we're delighted to be a part of it," says President of Valley Children's Foundation Robert Saroyan.

The left-handed pitcher split time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2019, appearing in 45 games with a 6-1 record and a 2.91 era. This March he was set to play in the World Baseball Classic Qualifying round for Team Brazil in Arizona.

"Before we got to play it got shut down because of COVID, I was sent back to the Marlins facility in Jupiter. Next day the Marlins told us they were sending us home too, but I think it's going to be 2023 for the next WBC and I'll probably be playing for that as well," he says.

Lee spent most of his down time fishing and kick-starting his foundation. In November he held his inaugural event "Fishing for a cause." Over 60 people competed in the Bass fishing tournament.

"I'm a professional athlete but I'm not in the big leagues yet, I didn't feel like I needed to be some big star, I felt like I could still make an impact and do something good especially during this time where I feel like we need more good in this world," he says.

The Dinuba native also received autographed gear from some of Fresno State's most well-known alumni.

"Jordan Luplow donated cleats, and Aaron Judge donated a bat and a jersey. Tried to help him as much as I could with his foundation, his mom is also someone I leaned on, I had no idea... I've never started a foundation, or ran an event so it was nice to bounce some ideas off of her."

On Wednesday he presented Valley Children's with a $5,000 check. He will also be donating to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and hopes to put on more events to raise money in the future.
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