ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and this weekend USA Softball of Texas is hosting the 5th annual Hearts of Gold Softball Tournament fundraiser at the Kirby Softball Fields.
“This child’s the same age as the girls that are on this field today,” said Colorado City Lady Wolves 12u Coach Adam Lloyd.
For the past five years, organizers of the Hearts of Gold Softball Tournament have donated a portion of the registration fees to a local family with a child battling cancer.
This year participants are raising money for Zoee Lynn Hernandez, a local child who lost her battle against cancer earlier this month.
“It’s really special that we can hold this to raise money for her family when they really need it and everything. In order to keep their family, I guess uplifted and stuff with what’s going on. That they know that their community is doing stuff for them to help them out,” said tournament director’s daughter and softball player Kelsie Burleson.
30 teams traveled from across the Big Country to compete in this year’s tournament and raise money for a noble cause.
“Seeing all this support is just excellent. Seeing all these people coming here from out of town, from all over the state of Texas, and sometimes they even travel from out of Texas. It means a lot to me too,” said umpire Lupe Cardona.
Coach Lloyd witnessed his mother battle and overcome breast cancer, and he says moments like this can stick with you forever.
“You may make an impression on those girls, and it may be a big impression. You may make a life-changing impression for them. This family that lost their little girl, that’s a life-changing thing. That’s a tragedy,” said Lloyd.
Burleson says this event has the power to bring the community together and provide support for families when they need it most.
“I think it’s really important that we hold this tournament every year because we can help raise money for the families that need it for the sickness and stuff, that their family members may have,” said Burleson.
Last year the tournament raised about $3,500, and Tournament Director Michelle Burleson says they are trying to eclipse than number this year.
The championship games are scheduled for 5:00 pm on Sunday, September 20th, at Kirby Softball Fields.