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Coming together to conquer cancer

The Fox Chase-based Rising Sun Sluggers captured the championship and donated their winnings to Fox Chase Cancer Center.
Event organizers presented the family of Holly Colwell with a memorial stone to be placed next to a tree planted in her memory. From left: Dorothy Busha, Chris Tarducci, John Colwell, Joan Lafty, Nick Tarducci.

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A memory tent allowed visitors to remember loved ones lost to cancer.

The fourth Save 2nd Base Wiffle Ball Tournament took place Saturday at Hayes Playground/Bustleton Bengals fields, with organizers hoping to raise $10,000 for cancer patients and organizations.

The day included a 37-team tournament, a memory tent, a food truck with a portion of water ice sales going to the fund, volleyball, T-shirt sales, a 50-50 and raffles.

In the end, the Rising Sun Sluggers were crowned champions. The Fox Chase-based team consisted of Tim Breslin, Joey Breen, Bob Lang, Jared McLaverty, Mike Trudeau, Joe Leyland, Tom Leonard, John Forsythe, Tom Wismer and Christian Von Hofen. The champs donated their $500 winnings to Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Chris Tarducci and her son, Nick, organize the event. In 2019, they honored 33-year-old Holly Colwell, who had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer a year earlier, with the disease also developing in her liver. But Colwell was doing well at the event, and she donated the $2,500 raised through Home Runs for Holly to others fighting cancer.

Sadly, a week later, Colwell died.

The Tarduccis renamed the tournament in her memory.

“We don’t want to forget her,” said Chris Tarducci, a breast cancer survivor.

In addition, they donated a memorial stone that was placed next to a tree that previously had been planted in Colwell’s memory.

Also on Saturday, they donated money to cancer organizations in memory of the following women who have died since 2019: Mary Reed, Connie Cifelli, Maryann Meckfessel, Lisa Dombrowski, Cheryl Leigh Palantino, Randi D’Amico and Margaret Zampirri.

Chris Tarducci said some of the money raised this year will likely be donated to people undergoing cold cap treatments, a grueling process that allows cancer patients to retain most of their hair while undergoing chemotherapy. Colwell underwent such treatments, which can help patients feel better emotionally and mentally.

The Tarducci are thankful for all the tournament participants and their support of the cause.

“Every team I go to, somebody in everybody’s family has been affected. Everybody relates. It’s sad,” Chris Tarducci said.

Tarducci and her son are also thankful for the T-shirt and field sponsors, along with the two dozen volunteer umpires and everyone else who helped out on Saturday and set up in the days leading up to the tournament.

UPS donated $3,000 to the Bustleton Bengals to distribute as part of a “Swing for the Fences” contest. Anyone who hit a home run received $20. If the ball landed in a kiddie pool just outside the fence, the payout was $100.

Nick Tarducci said the whole day was “awesome,” with a record 37 teams braving the heat, including nine affiliated with Colwell. The tournament — shelved in 2020 due to the coronavirus — will continue because the need is there.

“I hate the statistic, but everybody knows somebody affected by cancer,” Nick said. ••

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