Looking for a fun summer activity for the entire family? Consider an evening out at the ballpark for a good cause.
On Thursday, June 26th, the sixth annual Caroline Symmes Celebrity Softball Challenge will be held at Victory Field. Local celebrities will participate in the seven-inning softball tournament that benefits Indiana Children's Wish Fund and honors Caroline Symmes, a Wish child who passed away in December 2009 and was involved in the inaugural softball event.
Those expected to attend include players for the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers, mascots and local media personalities. Roy Hibbert, All Star Center for the Indiana Pacers, and Robert Mathis, Pro Bowl Defensive End for the Indianapolis Colts, will host this event presented by the Tony Stewart Foundation. Dave Calabro, WTHR-TV sports director, and Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts player, will serve as co-masters of ceremony.
Terry Ceaser-Hudson, executive director of Indiana Children's Wish Fund, says families will enjoy everything about the day. "This is an amazing event, bringing together celebrities, Wish children and our community."
Gates open at 5 p.m. Ceaser-Hudson recommends families first visit the kid's area presented by Indy's Child. The Interactive Game Area includes games, face painting, crafts and local mascots.
Prior to the game, fans can also watch the "Budweiser Home Run Derby," held by 1070 THE FAN. Derby participants must pre-register through THE FAN to compete for prizes and awards.
Game time starts at 7 p.m. and promises not to disappoint. Ceaser-Hudson reminds fans that each year's game is different and unexpected surprises happen during the event. Autograph and giveaway opportunities occur throughout the evening. A highlight of the game is watching Wish kids run the bases with local celebrities. The interaction between the celebrities and fans is touted as another high point of the evening.
Nancy Kapsalis, a Fishers mother to a 12 year-old son who is a cancer survivor and Wish recipient, calls the softball challenge pure fun. "From a strictly entertainment standpoint it is such a great evening to watch a light-hearted, joyful event. There is so much activity and it's such a fun way to kick off the summer."
Indiana Children's Wish Fund grants wishes to Indiana children, ages 3 to 18, suffering from a life-threatening illness. Over 3,000 wishes have been granted within the past 30 years to Indiana children. Wishes include trips to Disney World, shopping trips, meeting celebrities and much more. Last year's event was attended by almost 10,000 spectators and raised $50,000.
Kapsalis says the Indiana Children's Wish Fund granted her son's wish to take the whole family (all eight members) to Disney World. "From a personal standpoint, as a Wish family recipient, it is humbling to see the kind of genuine giving that goes on in order to make wishes come true for children that these people will never even meet." She says that the Indiana Children's Wish fund creates lasting memories for Wish families and plays a part in the healing process. "Their efforts give the families something to look forward to, something real to hold on to when so much around them is beyond their grasp."
Tickets are $7 with free admission for children ages three and under. Game tickets are available at www.indyindians.com or can be purchased at the Victory Field box office. For more information on Indiana Children's Wish Fund, visit www.indywish.org.
Make plans to root on the home team. Meet us at Victory Field on June 26th for a great night of baseball and fun!