Dear Family and Friends,
Ten years ago, Cathy Nagy and Susan Oswald held the first Backyard Baseball event to raise funds for Alzheimer’s in honor of their mother. It was literally a “backyard” baseball tournament, held in the empty lot behind Cathy’s backyard. They signed up friends from the neighborhood and their children’s schools and raised $400 for their Walk to End Alzheimer’s team. That’s better than a lot of garage sales, and a whole lot more fun for the kids!
The event grew over time to include food, raffle items and a silent auction. Every year, in the weeks before the event, Cathy’s living room would look like a warehouse facility for an “odds and ends” variety store. A few sponsors and donors became regulars they could count on year after year. The kids grew into teenagers and looked forward every year to the event. The neighbors, instead of complaining about the growing crowds and cars, joined in.
As they approached their seventh year, Cathy and Susan decided it would be their last, and they pulled out all the stops and set a goal: a total of $100,000 in funds raised for the Alzheimer’s Association over eight years. Their loyal friends, colleagues and family members stepped up, as did sponsors, and in 2009, they reached their goal. Over seven years, Cathy and Susan had raised $100,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association.
In 2010, Becky and Brent Beanblossom stepped up. The event had too much name recognition, too many loyal participants and too much sponsor support to let it fade away. Longtime supporters of the Alzheimer’s Association, Becky and Brent held a successful 9th Annual Backyard Baseball event at a new location, a local church, to accommodate the ever-growing crowd. Of course, Cathy and Susan continued to held tremendously, as they do today.
In the fall of 2010, I held the last fundraising event for my younger daughter’s soccer team. My specialty had been corn hole tournaments, an idea germinated by her Ballard High School soccer coach, Brooke Burd. I found that these were fun, family-friendly events that brought together multiple generations to enjoy an evening together for a good cause.
That’s why I agreed to begin chairing Backyard Baseball in 2011. I relied a great deal on Cathy, Susan, Becky and their husbands, of course, and the name recognition that drew their dozens and dozens of friends, family and other supporters each year.
We are working to grow Backyard Baseball & Bar B Q into more of a community event. We’ve added live music — this year it was Muench (www.muenchband.com) — and scrumptious bar b q from Mark’s Feed Store. The sponsors who have stayed with us over the years — Home Instead Senior Care, Byerly Ford/Nissan, First Capital Bank of Kentucky, Norton Brownsboro Hospital, YUM! Brands, LPL Financial, The Benefits Firm and WHAS AM 840 – have been joined by Guthrie/Mayes Public Relations, Christian Care Communities, WAMZ 97.5 FM, Q Country 103.1 FM, ESPN 680 AM, and Dr. Gary Reasor. Our generous donors continue to step up every year with wonderful gift baskets, gift cards, sports team logo wear and hand crafted items.
To date, Backyard Baseball & Bar B Q has raised more than $130,000 for Alzheimer’s (the numbers are still coming in for the 2012 event)! This money funds workshops and services for people affected by Alzheimer’s in Kentucky as well as research to find a cure.
$130,000! Don’t ever think that just two people can’t make a difference.