Youth league honors cancer patients
That is the only way to describe the second annual Cancer Awareness Day at Fye Field Saturday.
Three players in the Logan Township Youth Baseball Association are courageously battling cancer: Barton’s Plumbing’s Isaiah Barnes, a 12-year-old who has leukemia, but currently in remission, Cummings Motors’ Tim McConnell, a 12-year-old whose cancer is currently in remission, and Gieg Law Offices’ 10-year-old Jonah Zolnak, who currently needs chemotherapy treatments.
All three of those children were honored, as well as Marla Jo Marasco Hoover. Hoover, the late cousin of Peterman’s Florist manager, Tom Marasco, and the one who organized the event, died of cancer last Tuesday.
Barnes spoke glowingly about the day.
“It was a good day,” Barnes said. “We raised a lot of money.”
After getting fairly heavy rains just prior to the event’s start a few minutes before noon, the rain stopped, allowing for the event to begin.
The day started with players in the league gathered on the field with helium-filled balloons in there hands and Josh Groban’s song “You Raise Me Up” playing on the press box’s sound system.
Then after that, the players had the opportunity to throw a pitch from the pitcher’s mound while honoring loved ones who have survived, are fighting or who have passed away from cancer. Baskets were raffled off. Authentic game jerseys from players such as Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan, Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter, Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Hank Aaron were auctioned off, as well.
“I think it was very touching,” Marasco said. “The balloon lift off was really powerful.”
They set a goal to raise $1,500, but they more than doubled that with in access of $3,000.
“It was the goal the American Cancer Society gave us,” Marasco said. “Last year, we raised $960, so we topped it by over 60 percent so far.”