T.J. Collett could see his dream of playing professional baseball come true this week as Major League Baseball holds its 2020 draft but he’s already succeeded in perhaps his most important goal: changing the lives of cancer-stricken children.

Collett, a senior first baseman from Terre Haute, Indiana, is a two-time member of the SEC Community Service Team who has been instrumental in UK baseball’s community outreach and service initiatives. He is heavily involved with the NEGU/Jessie Rees Foundation, whose mission is connecting with families of young cancer patients, bringing awareness to their stories, offering them a network of helpful resources and sending the entire family encouragement throughout their journey.

NEGU, which stands for Never Ever Give Up, has worked with Collett on bringing children and their families to UK home baseball games to experience pregame activities on the field and in the dugout, as well as be announced during the game. As part of his work with NEGU, Collett has spearheaded an effort where members of the UK baseball team delivery Joy Jars to young cancer patients. The jars are stuffed with toys, games, and other things to brighten patients’ days while fighting the disease. More information on the program can be found at NEGU.org.

The T.J. Collett File:
Two-time member of the SEC Community Service Team.
Three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Has been instrumental in UK Baseball’s community outreach and service initiatives.
Heavily involved with NEGU/Jessie Rees Foundation, whose mission is connecting with families of young cancer patients, bringing awareness to their stories, offering them a network of helpful resources and sending the entire family encouragement during their journey.
Spearheaded an effort where members of the UK baseball team deliver Joy Jars to young cancer patients. The jars are stuffed with toys, games and other items to brighten patients’ days.
Worked with UK and NEGU to bring cancer-stricken children and their families to home games for behind-the-scenes experiences on game day, including being announced during the game.
So highly regarded as a teammate that when he participated in the College Home Run Derby in Omaha, Nebraska this summer a teammate’s family drove more than an hour to the event just to support him.
During his career has twice been named both National Player of the Week and SEC Player of the Week for his play.
Has persevered through numerous injuries that significantly impacted both his freshman and sophomore seasons.