Dodge ball tournament raises money and awareness for pediatric cancer


BELGRADE, Mont. - Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday in Belgrade to compete in a dodge ball tournament. Team Ballsagna, like lasagna, prepared themselves mentally for their second game of dodge ball. They had lost earlier in the day, and needed a win to advance to the next round. And after leaving it all on the court, win they did. "My mullet is coming off, I'm tired," said player Brian Schreyer, referring to his team's costumes which included wigs. "It was a little rocky," said team member Sarah Harris. "But as a team, we pulled together and were able to win our last game right now so it's a good feeling." And while the dodge ball tournament may seem like fun and games, everyone involved played to raise awareness and money to fight childhood cancer. "For childhood disease it's the number one killer of our children," explained Hillary Waldeisen, the organizer of the event. "13,000 children a year are diagnosed with cancer and it receives the least amount of federal funding, so many parents like myself have formed these organizations to help fill in that gap." Waldeisen is the organized the event and started Lucy's Light, an organization she named after a special young girl. "Lucy is my daughter," she explained. "When she was three years old she was diagnosed with aggressive cancer called Neuroblastoma." March marked Lucy's five year anniversary since her diagnosis, and now she is cancer free. Hillary said the tournament is a way to bring people together and raise money for more cancer research. And Ballsagna agreed. "I think it's a good way for the community to understand what childhood cancer is," Harris said. "It also helps build awareness with the community, and it pulls everybody together for a good cause." "I think we should do more more events with the local community," teammate Schreyer said. The money raised from the Lucy's Light dodge ball tournament will go toward the national nonprofit Cookies for Kids Cancer. Lucy's Light is also teaming up with the "Bozeman Three,"a fundraising and awareness effort for three Bozeman-area children who were fighting pediatric cancers at the same time. Two of the "Bozeman Three" children and their families were at Saturday's dodge ball game.