It’s one thing to coach a softball team, and another thing entirely to coach a softball team who plays solely to benefit people in need. That’s what kind of team Corey Downey coaches here in Western Kentucky. Team Elite is a Co-Ed, slow-pitch softball team who plays in tournament/fundraisers around the region, and hosts a fundraiser tournament at a local ballpark, in our area, for a local family, every year.
The idea was inspired six years ago when the players wanted to host a tournament fundraiser to benefit the Calloway County Humane Society, but then a member stepped forward and suggested the niece of a friend who was living with cerebral palsy. She became the first beneficiary of the fundraiser event, and it sparked a desire to continue this kind of giving from the team every year since.
The way the family/child is selected each year is mostly word-of-mouth references by people on, or close to, the ball team. A family or child is suggested, based on their need, and Corey speaks to the family after looking into their situation or circumstance. The needs can range from assistance for medical supplies, food, bills or travel to hospital trips, hotel stays during hospital stays, and many other things.
This year was an exceptionally difficult year for Corey and the team to choose a family. The first family chosen preferred to deny the fundraiser, because they were doing okay, financially, and the father suggested they choose another family, so they went through the process again, and found the perfect family to raise the money for.
Corey asked around and had 2 different people come to him about a family in Mayfield who would benefit from their fundraiser. 5-year-old Riley Frost, and her 3-year-old brother, Harrison. Riley and Harrison both live with a rare, genetic neurological disorder called Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD). INAD is a disorder that presents symptoms between 6 and 18 months of age and causes rapid motor and intellectual regression. Riley is currently fed from a g-tube, and Harrison has to drink liquids from syringe in order to get his nutrients. Both of these sweet children are fragile and infant-like.
The tournament is the main fundraiser for the families every year, but it is not the only thing that the team organizes. There are other things that happen at the tournaments such as silent auctions, raffles, and T-Shirts at the event every year.
Corey said they typically have 8 teams participate in the tournament but have had as many as 16 teams participate before, as well. There is a registration fee of $200 per team to participate, with most of that money going directly to the beneficiary family from the event. There is a charge for insurance for the tournaments, and it is pricey, so a small portion of each registration is placed toward that insurance cost as well. Teams have come from as far as Nashville and Louisville to participate in these fundraiser events. This is an inspiration to many who love the sport, and love to give to those in need. Medals are given to the team members of the teams placing 1st 2nd and 3rd in the tournament.
This fundraiser event has grown tremendously since its first year! There are now business sponsors for the T-shirts worn at the event, and generous donations are given to the event by businesses and individuals alike. Last year was their biggest fundraising year, and they hope to see this year grow even bigger.
Team Elite hosts the tournament, and they travel around the region to play in fundraiser tournaments like this one every year. Team Elite is made up of members from various cities in Western Kentucky, who gather to do something good for others, and they are inviting the community to join with them and do the same!
The tournament is held at Mike Miller Park in Draffenville, KY. This year will be the 4th year held at this location. This year the tournament is penciled in for April 6th, at Mike Miller Park. It is possible for the date to be April 13th due to the possibility of snow in the forecast. Yes, they played in the snow before. And, all involved will tell you it was still an amazing event, with a wonderful outcome.
Anyone who would like to be a part of this fundraiser, whether as a team to participate, or as a volunteer, you are encouraged to ask early as possible. Corey encourages everyone who wants to help, and gladly accepts all types of volunteers. Donations are welcome from anyone who would like to give.
Teams wanting to register for the tournament, as well as donors and volunteers for the event, can contact Corey Downey by phone or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and 270-227-3668.
Advertisements for the event typically begin circulating in the month of January, and registration deadline is typically the week before the tournament.
Join us in April 2019, as Team Elite hosts their 6th annual tournament, sponsoring and supporting the sweet, adorable Riley and Harrison Frost, and their loving parents, as they go through their situation together. We look forward to seeing you there!