North Country plays softball for cancer

A total of 29 teams competed in the 9th annual Play to Give softball tournament.

A total of 29 teams competed in the 9th annual Play to Give softball tournament.

— Billy Badger’s cousin has a brain tumor.

Diagnosed with cancer, he has two months to live.

So Badger is helping out by participating in a softball tournament that raises money for local cancer victims.

“This is my first year,” said Badger of Dannemora. “My friend Tony asked me and said it was for charity. It is nice to see cancer victims helped out.”

This past weekend marked the 9th annual Play to Give softball tournament, the largest co-ed softball tournament in the area.

Proceeds benefit the FitzPatrick Cancer Center at CVPH Medical Center.

Last year, the tournament raised $20,000, and $60,000 to date.

A total of 36 teams participated last year, compared to 41 the year prior and 29 this year.

The fundraising goal this year was $15,000 to $20,000.

The money helps defray the costs for patients with no coverage, helps purchase wigs and equipment and more.

The teams originally played as part of a massive Bombardier tournament in Canada that flew in teams from throughout the United States.

But in 2003, seven teams started their own tournament locally.

“The first year we did it for fun,” said Lola Miller, tournament organizer. “Then we decided to collect an entry fee and donate it to a charitable cause.”

Players then unanimously decided that the FitzPatrick Center touched the lives of many people and the money has been going there ever since.

“This directly helps our local cancer patients,” Miller said. “We have a fun time.”

Besides the tournament, activities included live music, dizzy stick, 106.3 broadcasting live, kids’ competitions, horse rides and a scavenger hunt.

The tournament lasts two days, starts in the early morning and runs into evening and features an all-star game.

“I think this is excellent,” said Dolly Venne.

She was recently diagnosed with skin cancer and said many of her family members have been diagnosed with various forms of cancer.

“We do a lot for cancer.”

Tony Guay of Mooers has been participating in the tournament for five years.

Many of his family members also have cancer.

“I’ve lost friends to cancer.”

Now he wants to give back.

“This is fun, but it also helps people realize how important this is and it gets the word out about cancer.”

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