A second benefit in as many weeks is being held at Lee S. Jones Park in Eddyville for 10-year-old cancer patient Owen Matthews.
A full day of baseball and softball for youth, an evening adult softball tournament, a corn hole tournament and more will kick off at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 25. The Owen Tough Benefit will come just eight days after this week’s American Legion Post 68 alumni game and home run derby to help the Matthews family with medical bills and related expenses.
Lafe Riggs, organizer of next week’s benefit, said the Matthews family helped him out a couple of years ago when his son, also named Owen, was sick. He wanted to repay the favor to Chase and Jennifer Matthews, whose son has pediatric Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that forms in soft tissue, specifically skeletal muscle and hollow organs.
“It’s a really sweet family,” said Riggs.
Owen Matthews is facing a grueling surgery Thursday at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. His mother writes in her social media posts detailing the family’s journey that the surgery is her boy’s only chance for survival. The objective is to remove the entire tumor affecting his bodily functions, but it will be all-or-nothing.
“Unfortunately, we will not know until during surgery if this will even work,” Jennifer wrote in a July 8 Facebook post. “The plan is for them to take all of the tumor or none of the tumor. There is no in-between. It is in a very difficult spot with many vessels and muscles that can cause major life threatening issues.”
Riggs, who lives in Eddyville and umpires and referees youth sports, said Owen Matthews is a big fan of America’s pastime, so the fundraiser on July 25 is appropriate.
“He’s a baseball player,” Riggs said. “He loves to compete.”
A gate fee will be taken up to enter the park for the July 25 event. There will also be a donation jug set up for people who simply want to help out but cannot stay for the activities.
The day will feature both 8U softball and baseball in the morning across three fields. The T-ball field will be set up for a Wiffle ball home run derby. And a corn hole tournament is planned. At night, beginning around 6 or 7 p.m., a slow-pitch softball tournament will begin. Full concessions will be available all day.
“All proceeds go to the Matthew family,” Riggs assured.
For more information or to sign up teams for competition, contact Riggs at 270-564-5000 or find him on Facebook.
Pre-event T-shirt orders are being taken through this Friday at Akridge Farm Supply. They will also be available at the event.