This past Saturday Channel 23 News Reporter Eric O’Brien stopped by our (K Cancer Softball and Baseball) softball practice and spoke to our girls and young men about being good teammates. Eric played High School baseball, then played baseball at the College level as a scholarship athlete. After College he went on to play professional baseball at the Minor League level so he has been there and has the T-shirt to prove it.
The two things that he stressed the most were to have fun and to remember that your teammates will always be there for you, even when things go bad. I wonder if he was talking about softball or life?
I thought it was interesting that he would go in that direction with his talk with them. At K Cancer Baseball/Softball, we call the childhood cancer patients that we support “Teammates”. When we meet with them at a player visit, we deliver care packages and let them know that we are here for them for the long haul as they are going through their battle.
This past week we brought on a new “Teammate”, Devany. Devany is an awesome 11 year old young lady who is fighting Leukemia. It turns out that one of the girls on the K Cancer Softball Team who was on the visit is classmates with Devany! Please keep Devany in your prayers. It’s time like these that you really need your Teammates!
This past week was an exciting week for the K Cancer Baseball team. A couple things happened that we have been looking forward to for a little while now…
Recently we have have received 2 referrals for local families that came from two different sources; one was from a family we have stepped along side of in the past, the other was from a social worker at an out of town childhood cancer hospital. This tells us two things. First, that the families we are working with see a value in what we do and they are telling folks who are going through what they went through to seek us out. Second, the social workers at the hospitals who treat our families are starting to see us as a part of their treatment team. Both of these are big goals that we had that we can consider achieved!
Another thing that has been awesome has been seeing the new K Cancer Softball Team step in and get right to work! Both referrals in the past few weeks have been for young girls who are fighting cancer. Both times girls from the K Cancer Softball Team joined us on the home visits and helped make it a fun experience for the patient. When you are around these girls you can’t help but end up smiling no matter what your situation!
We are looking forward to bigger and greater things in the coming year for the K Cancer Baseball (and softball) Team! Last year we helped 9 families and raised/distributed over $35,000.00. This year we want to reach triple that number of people and budget. We are a third of the way there as far as the budget goes and already have had 4 new families that we have engaged with in 2016!
Say a prayer for our newest Teammate Paulina. She is battling Medulloblastoma but won’t let that keep her down! Check out the smile 🙂
We learned that the Greater Rockford Community is awesome! We were blown away by the outpouring of support that was shown to our local families who are battling childhood cancer. 300 people were in attendance and over $29,000.00 was contributed to the cause!
We learned that when a couple of determined ladies set their minds to it, they can accomplish just about anything! As you know, an incredible amount of work goes into putting together an event like the Gold Ribbon Gala. We couldn’t be more appreciative to the ladies on the Gala Committee who gave up their homes for the last month as they made centerpieces, guest gifts, and silent auction packages and displays!
We learned that local businesses are in business for more than just money, they care about their communities and are willing to get involved. We couldn’t have accomplished what we have in support of our childhood cancer families if it wasn’t for the contributions of local businesses getting on board and sponsoring our events. Thank you!
We learned that kids who are battling cancer want to have fun! It was awesome seeing the smiles on the faces of Tyler, Gabi, Matthew, and Sammy throughout the night. Not only were they guests of honor, they were also some of the hardest workers! Gabi helped with the event prep and Sammy worked the T-shirt tent for a good portion of the night.
We learned that Chicago Cubs “Hall Of Famer” Fergie Jenkins still has it! He was a gracious speaker and went out of his way for the kids. He even put us in touch with someone from the Cubs organization so that we can join forces with them this summer when they recognize childhood cancer patients at Wrigley Field!
We learned that we are meant to do this! You should ask yourself from time to time, “am I in the right place?” When we saw how our organization was able to provide a funnel for the Greater Rockford Community to channel its love and support through to local families who need it the most, we left even more determined to keep up the fight. Any time you attempt to address Cancer in any form, especially Childhood Cancer, you are in for a fight. The greater Rockford Area and K Cancer Baseball is ready for that fight!
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
I read that quote attributed to Mother Teresa this morning and it made me think about how excited I am about tonight’s Gold Ribbon Gala benefitting local families facing childhood cancer.
One thing that has been interesting about K Cancer Baseball as an organization, and what has brought us to the event tonight, is the partnerships. We have received key mentoring and assistance from prominent people within the political, healthcare, finance, education, non-profit and business communities.
What this dynamic says to me is that the state-line area has not forgotten that we belong to one another. I can’t wait for tonight’s event!
People process their battles and struggles in different ways. I try to be careful not to judge how someone is handling themselves during their valleys. Sometimes it takes miraculous courage and strength just to get through the next day, the last thing a person in this circumstance needs is me telling them how they should be acting or what they should be doing with their lives when I have no idea…
I am always amazed when I run into someone that has made it through the hardest part of their struggle and then they dive right back in to help someone else who is fighting the same monster they just left in their rear view mirror. We have gotten to know two such people here at K Cancer Baseball.
Gabi and Sammy are two young ladies that have both fought battles with Childhood Cancer. They, along with their families, have gone through incredibly challenging times. What do they do now? You guessed it, they look for opportunities to help others who are facing what they have faced.
Gabi is always up for an event that raises awareness to the particular challenges that face childhood cancer patients in the Greater Rockford Area. You will find her marching in parades, manning a booth at events, and this week she was hard at work putting together centerpieces and silent auction baskets for the Gold Ribbon Gala coming up this Thursday.
Sammy has been the face of national childhood cancer organizations that raise funds for research in an effort to find a cure so that kids in the future will not have to go through what she has. She has joined K Cancer Baseball on several occasions helping us raise money and support for local kids who find themselves in the place she was in. Make sure you keep an eye out during the WREX 6:00pm news on Thursday this week. A birdy has it that you might see a clip of Sammy being interviewed at the Gold Ribbon Gala!
“For it is in giving that we receive.” – Francis Assisi
The K Cancer Baseball Youth Advisory Executive Board Members do what they do because they care about local families who are battling childhood cancer. They give of themselves because it is the right thing to do and they know that if roles were reversed, they would want others to step along side them and their families.
Francis Assisi is quoted as saying that it is in giving that we receive. That is so true. When you look around you it is rare that you will find someone who is selfless that does not receive.
Recently, one of the Youth Advisory Executive Board Members applied to Bradley Universities Engineering Program. When they received their acceptance letter, there was an interesting line in the second paragraph. It read, “Because of your academic, Extra-curricular and community service accomplishments, the scholarship committee selected you to receive recognition from the Bradley University Scholarship Fund.” The college not only accepted him into their institution, but they were providing him with a sizable scholarship to attend.
To paraphrase Francis Assisi, “you are receiving because you are giving.” Wouldn’t it be great to end your life one day and feel that you gave until you couldn’t give any more, to feel that you lived your life to the absolute fullest and you affected as many people for the good as it was possible for you to do? I guarantee you that anyone who does, will be blessed beyond measure along the way.