Batting Against Breast Cancer another smash hit
The fifth annual Batting Against Breast Cancer slo-pitch tournament was another rousing success for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Prairies and Northwest Territories region.
According to organizers, $87,663 was raised from this year’s tournament, with all of the funds going towards funding breast cancer research and community projects.
“Everyone is really excited about how much money we raised,” said Laura Reynolds, a development officer with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in the Prairies and Northwest Territories region and an organizer of this event.
“We always want to see the event grow and get better from the previous year, and to raise more than the $75,000 we had last year was great,” she added.
This year’s tournament, was the fourth in a row to be held at Chinook Winds Park in Airdrie after the first edition of the event took place in Chestermere.
A total of 21 teams took to the diamond on Saturday, which was an increase from the 17 teams that competed last year.
“One of our goals with an annual event like this is to have the number of people involved grow year after year, and I think we have done a good job of that,” Reynolds said. “We have a lot of different things for the family as well besides the slo-pitch, such as a pancake breakfast and a fun zone for the kids, and I think that helps to make the day a great one for everybody that’s involved.”
This past weekend’s tournament is one of five that will take place this summer, with the others being held in St. Albert, Grande Prairie, Regina, and Winnipeg.
“It’s one of the major fundraising events for our region each year, and we are seeing that other communities are expressing an interest in having their own tournaments,” Reynolds said.
One of the participants that was taking part in the event for a second time was Calgary’s Rod Martin, who teamed up with his co-workers to form the Breast Friends team.
“Our company - Promotional Bridge - has been involved with fundraising events for the last few years now, and it just seemed like a natural fit to be involved with this one,” Martin said. “More than half of our team played here last year, and we were all wanting to take part in it again.”
While most of the players were dressed up in their team’s regular slo-pitch gear, some of the participants on Saturday brought their own style and flair to the day’s festivities.
One of those players was Airdrie’s Mike Traxel, who donned angel wings and a tutu while patrolling the outfield for the Pink Lions.
“I came for the entertainment, but I didn’t expect to be the entertainment,” Traxel said. “Everyone on our team has been affected by breast cancer in one way or another, so we all wanted to be a part of this event,” he added.
The tournament title was won by Breast Friends, who also finished among the top ten teams when it came to fundraising.
“It was nice to finish that high when it came to raising funds, and to also finish in first in the tournament as well,” team member Lindsay Beyko said. “Everyone seemed to have a blast, and I think everyone has already committed to play again next year.
For the third year in a row, the top fundraising team was the Diamond Divas, as they raised $14,285.
“We bring two teams each year from the Alberta Funseekers Softball League, and the Rack Pack team were able to bring $4,925,” Roy Larking said. “We have been involved in four of these tournaments now, and we have raised a total of $64,210.”