Rivals team up against cancer

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Roeland Park’s Bishop Miege head baseball coach Will Gorden (far left) leads a clinic for kids ages 7-14. The clinic was followed by games with St. James Academy, Lenexa, all to benefit a cancer foundation called Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Photo by Joe McSorley.

Game benefits Alex’s Lemonade Stand


by Jessica Langdon
jessica.langdon@theleaven.org

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Baseball players from two rival high schools went to bat for children facing cancer this past weekend, and it’s safe to say they hit it out of the ballpark with this one.

Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park and St. James Academy in Lenexa faced off on March 29 at a “Strike Out Cancer” event at Community America Ballpark, home to the T-Bones, in Kansas City, Kan., to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

The nationwide foundation has grown out of the lemonade stand that 4-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who had neuroblastoma, started back in 2000 to raise funds to find a cure for all children with cancer.

Alex died in 2004, but lives on through the foundation, which has raised more than $75 million and helped fund more than 375 pediatric cancer research projects. It also helps families who have to travel for treatments by supplying things like gas cards to ease their burden.

Miege senior Macie Heller and St. James seniors Emma Blowey, Anne Marie Gartner and Mara Kubicki attended a leadership academy through the foundation last year, and now lead the Lemon Clubs at their respective schools to benefit the foundation.

Christy and Joe Heller — Macie’s parents — purchased the event opportunity at Community America Stadium at Miege’s annual auction.

First on the roster for the March 29 event was an hourlong mini-clinic for children ages 7-14. For only $10, kids could attend the clinic,  enjoy a free sack lunch, and stay for the rest of the day’s games.

Next at bat: the C team game, followed by the junior varsity contest and then the varsity matchup.

“The game of baseball is always going to be naturally competitive. Mix in St. James and Bishop Miege, and that can be seen on the field of play,” said Will Gorden, Miege head baseball coach. “However, the event that the games were centered around took on a much higher meaning. It was great seeing these two schools come together for such a great cause in Alex’s Lemonade Stand. The players were excited all week and looked forward to helping out the fight against childhood cancer as much as playing.”

A silent auction featured an autographed jersey and baseball from Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals. Other items were also raffled.

The event was a hit, raising about $5,100 for the cause, said Susan Blowey, Emma’s mother and community outreach specialist for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation in the Kansas City area.

She loves seeing students get involved with lemonade stands and other events to help with this cause and was impressed with the number of students who pitched in to make this event a success.

“They were so on fire about what they could do,” she said. “They know that everything they’re doing is making a difference.”

 

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