Beck family starts support workshops

Updated: June 23, 2010, 11:38 AM ET
By Amy K. Nelson | ESPN.com

It has been three years since former All-Star reliever Rod Beck died. To mark the anniversary, his wife is launching a program to help the children of addicts.

Beck, who had 286 saves over 13 seasons spent between the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres, died on June 23, 2007 from a cocaine overdose. Beck had struggled with addiction for years, his family detailed with ESPN.com shortly after his death.

Among those Beck left behind were his wife Stacey and their two teenage daughters, Kelsey and Kayla. Now, the Beck family is beginning a unique program in Arizona called Pitch for Kidz (www.pitch4kidz.org), in the Phoenix area. Stacey Beck and substance abuse counselor Bobbe McGinley will be running four-day workshops starting in November for kids ranging in ages from 7 to 12.

"The reality is one in four kids are living with one or more parents who are addicted," Stacey Beck told ESPN.com. "Children in those environments live in a keep-everything-quiet, very secretive, don't talk, don't feel world. And [we're] offering them a program that explains to them that their parents' addiction is not their fault, that they can't control it, that they can't fix it so they can take care of themselves and build their own set of coping skills."

Stacey's idea was inspired after both Kayla and Kelsey attended a similar program for kids at the Betty Ford clinic in California, which Stacey said helped their family talk about Rod Beck's addiction and, later, his death.

The website launches Wednesday, and as a full non-profit, Stacey Beck's aim is to raise money and awareness in anticipation of the program's opening in November. She knows how important it was to her family to have the tools to learn how to talk about what was happening to Rod Beck.

"It helped us build our resilience and our strength," Stacey Beck said. "Even despite the worst possible outcome, we are all safe and doing well and thriving."

Amy K. Nelson is a staff writer for ESPN.com. She can be reached at Amy.K.Nelson@espn.com.