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Friday, May 29, 2015

Beauty at the Ballpark: Kyle's Kamp Patient Ambassadors

At Kyle's Kamp our biggest event is our Memorial Day Wood Bat Tournament for travel baseball teams.  This year almost 100 teams from 8U-15U participated raising over $300,000 for Children's National Medical Center's Pediatric Oncology division.  As the last team received its championship trophy Monday night, I could almost hear an audible, "That's a wrap!" from a whole host of volunteers who made the tournament happen.

Unfortunately, the over thirty children who served as Patient Ambassadors for teams in our tournament as well as in our High School Diamond Dreams games, can rarely ever utter the phrase "That's a wrap!" when it comes to their journeys in fighting cancer.  Even when treatment protocols come to an end, these families continue to live with some element of fear that their battles might start all over again.

In addition to Kyle Hahne, the namesake of Kyle's Kamp, all of us involved in this organization are daily inspired by the memory of Gavin Rupp, a 13 year old boy who died of brain cancer in 2013 and said,

"Before I had cancer, normal just felt kinda boring.  But normal now, is like . . .  kinda special." 

Gavin's wish to feel normal was not unique.  Children with cancer are thrust into incredibly abnormal days of scans, biopsies, chemotherapy treatments, hair loss and radiation.  Through an ordinary, normal game of baseball - the game that both Kyle and Gavin love - Kyle's Kamp seeks to bring some light into a child's life when it is marred by darkness.  Our teams share the experience of playing a game of catch, running the bases and spitting sunflower seeds through a chain link fence with children who often have not experienced the blessed gift of a "normal" day in a very long time.

(and don't forget to watch the video below or at the Kyle's Kamp blog)

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