Former wish kid and Pitt Meadows resident Paige Roper, who has just been declared five years cancer free after having a brain tumor, has put together a Slo-Pitch team to help support the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
In 2007, Paige had a wish for a baby grand piano granted to her by Make-A-Wish after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Five years later, she's cancer free after undergoing an intense year of brain surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
And she's still playing her piano. "Playing my piano brings me so much joy," explained Paige, who continues to play as often as she can.
Her ball team, called Paige's Knights, is made up of friends and family who helped support her in her journey with cancer. And, they won't just be having fun playing ball at the Slo-Pitch for Kids tournament, they'll be raising money to grant wishes for Make-A-Wish BC.
Make-A-Wish grants wishes to kids ages three to 17, who are battling life-threatening medical conditions.
This is the second time that the 16-year-old has entered a team and they have already raised $1,435, including a $500 donation from sponsor MTI Community College.
Going into the fifth year of the tournament for Make-A-Wish, tournament organizers have raised $154,169 to date for the foundation's wish granting program, and hope to generate another $60,000 this year.
This year's tournament has expanded the fundraising team challenge, with seven teams taking up the challenge, raising more than $10,235 even before the tournament begins.
This year's top fundraising team will win a night at a Canuck game in the BMO Suite, but that's not the reason they do it.
"Teams love what Make-A-Wish does," said Liz Caridi, one of the organizers. "We've had the pleasure of meeting some of the wish kids at the tournament. Once you hear what they've been through, you just want to do more, especially when you hear how important having a wish is to them."
Thirty-two teams, made up of 500 ball players, will take to the fields at Riverway Sports Complex in Burnaby on July 14 and 15.
To make a donation to help kids like Paige, visit www.makeawishbc.ca, click on donate now, and select Slo-Pitch for Kids 2012.
MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION BC
. Since 1983, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of BC & Yukon has made more than 1,400 wishes come true for kids battling a life-threatening medical condition.
. Each wish provides a child and their immediate family a carefree and joyful experience that is far from the inherent stress and anxiety of having a life-threatening medical condition. .
. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of BC & Yukon, including how to help refer a child for a wish, participate in the Adopt-A-Wish program, or donate in-kind gifts of goods or services, call 604-688-7944 or visit www. makeawishbc.ca.