October 2012 - Parks & Recreation - 18

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YOUTH SPORTS

Coaches Curing Kids' Cancer

BJ

IS A HAPPY, healthy sixth-grade boy who plays travel baseball and

enjoys everything life has to offer. He and his family and friends
are grateful for this as they know all too well that life is precious,
and that childhood cancer is a real threat to the happiness and lives of our youth.
In May 2010, while playing baseball
at Wills Park in Alpharetta, Georgia (just
outside of Atlanta), BJ's coaches noticed that this normally very energetic
boy was turning down opportunities
to pitch and seemed to get fatigued just
running bases. BJ also complained to
his parents of headaches and other
pains. Over the course of the next few
weeks, he went to the doctor repeat-

very familiar with the prevalence of
childhood cancer through their involvement with Curing Kids' Cancer,
a nonprofit organization whose mission is to find cures for pediatric cancers in our lifetime. Curing Kids' Cancer
raises money to fund the most promising pediatric cancer research-the kind
of research that is truly saving lives.
For years, WPYBA has been join-

Thanks to such resources as Coaches Curing Cancer, BJ can now enjoy playing
baseball again.

edly for testing, including blood tests,
an MRI, and a CT Scan. On May 30 it
was confirmed-BJ had a very aggressive form of childhood cancer called
Burkitt's Leukemia. His family's life, as
they knew it, stopped.
BJ's baseball league, the Wills Park
Youth Baseball Association (WPYBA),
rallied around him. They were already
16

Parks & Recreation

ing other leagues around the country in promoting the Coaches Curing
Kids' Cancer (CCKC) program among
its teams. These teams are donating
to CCKC in honor of their coaches at
the end of the season in lieu of a traditional gift. The coach receives a great
Curing Kids' Cancer gift (t-shirt, hat, or
whistle) along with a certificate letting

| OCTOBER 2012 | WWW.NRPA.ORG

the coach know the team has donated
to Curing Kids' Cancer in the coach's
honor. This money then goes to fund
cutting-edge pediatric cancer research,
and the kids on the team learn about
giving back. It is a win/win situation
for everyone!
It may seem ironic that Wills Park
Youth Baseball was a supporter of Curing Kids' Cancer and then one of their
own was diagnosed with this awful disease. But, it may also seem inevitable
as 1 in 300 children are diagnosed with
cancer before the age of 21. With thousands of children playing in a league,
it is likely that childhood cancer will
hit home.
BJ underwent seven months of very
harsh treatments that left him beyond
sick, with his immune system seriously
compromised. He spent much of those
seven months confined to a room at
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's Aflac
Cancer Center. He received the best
treatments available, but they certainly
took their toll. Finally, on December 18,
2010, BJ had his last treatment, and has
been in remission ever since.
Unfortunately, not all children are
as fortunate as BJ. In the past three
decades, there has been tremendous research progress on childhood
cancer. It has gone from an average
survival rate of barely 25 percent to
an average of more than 75 percent.
But that still means that one in every four children who are diagnosed
will die. More funding for research is
needed in order for this to improve,
and Curing Kids' Cancer is working
on it. Learn more at www.curingkids
cancer.org.

COACHES CURING KIDS' CANCER

Teaming up to support pediatric cancer research



October 2012 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of October 2012 - Parks & Recreation

October 2012 - Parks & Recreation - 1
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