Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. marked the beginning of Saint Anselm College's annual Wiffleball Tournament. Every year the Meelia Center for Community Engagement hosts this tournament in order to raise money for a community request, and this year's request was a very special one. All of the proceeds were being donated to the Byers family, whose two-year-old daughter, Rowan, suffers from an aggressive genetic disorder called Morquio Syndrome. This disorder causes many serious side effects including abnormal heart growth, heart murmurs, and knock knees. Rowan was accepted into a clinical trial program in Chicago, that will hopefully get her better. But, this means weekly flights from Manchester to Chicago for a year. As you can imagine, this will be a huge financial burden to the Byers family and any money that they can get will help them. Thus, the Meelia Center was thrilled to be able to help this incredible and energetic little girl.
And let me tell you, not only is the Wiffleball Tournament organized for a great cause, it is also extremely fun! Clubs, sports teams, and community sites put together teams to compete in the day-long event. And although the event is a fundraiser for charity, it can get VERY intense! From 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. the Carr Center is full of yelling, whistles, laughing, and lots of music. And this year we were fortunate to have the very lovely guest of honor, Rowan, be a part of the fun. In fact, Rowan threw the first pitch…she's got quite an arm for a two-year-old!
At the end of the day no one went home dejected, not even the losing teams. The tournament always proves to be such a positive community-builder that engages people from all areas, both inside and outside the Anselmian community. And through the efforts of many helping hands, the Meelia Center was able to present the Byers family with over $2,500. Of course this won't cover all expenses, but it certainly will lessen some stress for the family. To take the words of Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Rowan gave members of the Saint Anselm community an opportunity to come together in order to work towards a cause much, much bigger than ourselves.