LOUISVILLE, Ky. — NFCA members have once again banded together in the fight against cancer, raising $380,633 in support of the Association and American Cancer Society’s annual StrikeOut Cancer initiative.
The University of Michigan was the top fundraiser overall, collecting $130,416.12. The Wolverines’ efforts coincide with their annual Michigan Softball Academy. Growing significantly each year in the fight against cancer, the Softball Academy is a combination of an adults-only softball clinic at the University’s Wilpon Complex and a silent auction at the Junge Family Champions Center.
Since partnering with the American Cancer Society and its Making Strides Against Breast Cancer effort in 2007, head coach Carol Hutchins and her Wolverines have raised over $1 million to support breast cancer research and outreach, becoming the first women’s collegiate team to reach that mark.
Following Michigan is LSU, which raised $87,198.32 in its Geaux Teal campaign and annual “Strikeout Ovarian Cancer” game. Also reaching the five-figure fundraising mark were Travel Ball organization Virginia Glory ($50,000) as well as Division III programs Virginia Wesleyan ($27,281) and William Peace ($27,000).
Glory founder and president Suzy Willemssen hosted the annual Glory Strikeout Cancer Invitational, which topped all travel ball and youth fundraisers for the second straight year. All net proceeds from the event go to Children’s National and will directly help children in their fight to survive cancer.
The Marlins’ annual fundraiser, spearheaded by head coach Brandon Elliott, was held in conjunction with the school’s Spring Alumni Weekend. In 2019, head coach Charlie Dobbins and his William Peace softball squad teamed up with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Vs. Cancer program to raise awareness and funds for local children with cancer.
Martin Luther / Truman / Granada Huntley East Chain School District (GHEC) Jaguars ($6,321), NAIA’s Bethel University (Ind.) ($2,795 / pictured top) and Division II’s Colorado School of Mines ($2,675 / pictured left) led their respective membership categories.
Numerous other schools either raised money or awareness by hosting a single event or by coordinating a season-long campaign to battle cancer. The schools that registered with the NFCA were entitled to a special package of StrikeOut Cancer items, which included NFCA StrikeOut Cancer eye black, tattoos, wristbands and more.
In 2019, the NFCA’s New Jersey High School Leadoff Classic was found in honor of the late Immaculate Heart Academy head coach and 2019 NFCA Hall of Fame inductee Anthony LaRezza. The proceeds of the tournament went to cancer-stricken children through Tackle Kids Cancer.
The winners receive Louisville Slugger bats with the color tailored to their specific cancer fundraiser. The bats were generously donated by Slugger’s parent company Wilson Sporting Goods, Inc.
Overall - University of Michigan (Breast Cancer) - $130,416.12 (Carol Hutchins)
NCAA Division I - Louisiana State University (Cervical & Ovarian Cancer) - $87,198.32 (Beth Torina)
NCAA Division II – Colorado School of Mines (Breast Cancer) - $2,675.00 (Leah Glasgow)
NCAA Division III - Virginia Wesleyan University (All Cancers) - $27,281.00 (Brandon Elliott)
NAIA – Bethel University (All Cancers) - $2,795.00 (Scott Reese)
High School - Martin Luther / Truman / GHEC Jaguars (All Cancers) - $6,321.00 (John Oothoudt)
Travel Ball/Youth - VA Glory (All Cancers) - $50,000.00 (Suzy Willemssen)