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Fans choose Leyden as Cubs' All-Star

Fans choose Leyden as Cubs' All-Star

After thousands of nominees from across the United States and Canada were narrowed to 90 finalists, Major League Baseball and PEOPLE have announced the 30 winners of the "All-Stars Among Us" campaign, which spotlights people who have gone above and beyond to serve their communities.

The Chicago Cubs' "All-Star" is Erin Leyden of Chicago, who was chosen by fans across the nation for starting a foundation that helps families of children suffering from epilepsy.

Leyden's foundation offers support to affected families by listening and reacting to their struggles, and calming their fears. It also educates the public about epilepsy and providing first aid to seizure victims, while combating the stigma often attached to epileptics.

Leyden and the rest of the winners will be honored during the pregame ceremony at the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis on July 14 on FOX, at which President Barack Obama will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. One club representative also will be featured in People Magazine.

Nearly three-quarters of a million votes were cast by fans across the nation in the All-Stars Among Us campaign to select the 30 "All-Stars Among Us" winners -- one per Major League team -- out of the pool of 90 finalists who are serving as leaders within their communities.

The other finalists for the Cubs were:

• Ryan Lambert, a student at Central Michigan University, who developed his own philanthropy, Chip Away Malaria. His group raised over $30,000 insecticide-treated bed nets for families in Africa. The nets prevent the mosquito bites that cause malaria. Lambert is from Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

• Matthew Crawford, from West Des Moines, Iowa, who fixes fields and takes equipment to the Dominican Republic for children. He also takes clothes, arts and crafts to an orphanage. Crawford works on his own initiative and without pay.

Meanwhile, vote for your favorite players with the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Online Ballot at MLB.com and all 30 club sites.

The 80th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet HD and televised around the world by Major League Baseball International, with pregame ceremonies beginning at 8 p.m. ET. ESPN Radio will provide exclusive national radio coverage, while MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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