Oakland prospect, Parkland native sets up fund for athletic director killed in shooting

Chris Hixon, Athletic Director at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in a photo taken from the Facebook page of Aaron Gonzales. (Photo via Facebook)

Oakland A’s prospect Jesus Luzardo was hoping to get some practice in at his old high school facility earlier this week. He’d stayed close with his former team and texted with some of the players on occasion.

It’s a special place for Luzardo, who credits his former athletic director, Chris Hixon, with helping him chase his dreams of being a ballplayer. Luzardo is a proud graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and in the wake of a mass shooting that killed 17 at the high school — including Hixon — he wasted no time in joining those helping his community heal.

Luzardo, a 20-year-old left-handed pitcher, has set up a YouCaring page dedicated to Hixon. His goal is to raise $5,000 to help support Hixon’s family. As of Saturday afternoon, he was about halfway there.

“It is so difficult to comprehend that some of these people now will not get to live on with their own families,” Luzardo wrote on the YouCaring page. “I would not be where I am today if it were not for many of the students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, these people molded me into who I am today.

“I would love to help everyone but have decided to focus for now on helping the family of the school Athletic Director, Chris Hixon, including his wife Debbie and his sons Cory and Tommy. Chris played a huge role in supporting my dreams of becoming a professional baseball player and his loss will be felt by everyone in the Douglas community. My sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and to everyone who was involved in what took place at my alma mater.”

Elsewhere in south Florida, the Miami Dolphins have been promoting a GoFundMe page set up by the Broward Educational Foundation to support all victims of the Douglas shooting. Already there’s been $1.2 million raised with a goal of reaching $2 million.

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, another Douglas alum, has also been present in Parkland this week as the town continues to mourn the loss.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!