LOUISVILLE, Ky. — NFCA members have once again banded together in the fight against cancer, raising $391,965.90 in support of the Association and American Cancer Society’s annual StrikeOut Cancer initiative.
The University of Michigan was the top fundraiser overall, collecting $185,000. 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.
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 $1.6 million to support breast cancer research and outreach, becoming the first women’s collegiate team to reach that mark.
Glory Fastpitch founder and president Suzy Willemssen hosted the annual Glory Strikeout Cancer Invitational, which topped all travel ball and youth fundraisers for the fourth year with $50,000. All net proceeds from the event go to Children’s National Hospital and will directly help children in their fight to survive cancer.
Virginia Wesleyan’s 12th annual Strike Out Cancer fundraiser, spearheaded by head coach Brandon Elliott, was held in conjunction with its contest against Guilford College, raising over $30,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School (Overland Park, Kan.) also hit the five-figure donation mark with $18,000 raised at its annual Pink Out Game in April.
Additionally, Howard Community College (Junior College / $4,000), Dickinson State University (NAIA / $3,450) and Felician University (NCAA DII / $1,000) topped their respective groups.
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.
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) - $185,000 (Carol Hutchins)
NCAA Division II – Felician University (All Cancers) - $1,000 (Herb Melendez)
NCAA Division III - Virginia Wesleyan University (All Cancers) - $30,339 (Brandon Elliott)
NAIA – Dickinson State University (All Cancers) - $3,450 (Kristen Fleury)
Junior College – Howard Community College (Childhood) - $4,000 (Shannon Riley)
High School – Saint Thomas Aquinas (Breast Cancer) - $18,000 (Keith Hughes)
Travel Ball/Youth - VA Glory (All Cancers) - $50,000 (Suzy Willemssen)
The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its annual StrikeOut Cancer iniative, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from podcasts to an extensive Awards & Scholarships platform, to NFCA Webinars and a National Convention.