Dubious weather conditions did little to dampen spirits at a memorial softball tournament last weekend.
Turnout and support for the First Annual 29er Memorial Slo-pitch Tournament was “absolutely fantastic,” reports Jason Brooks, one of the event’s organizers.
Held June 18 at Softball City, the tournament was organized in memory of Rick Bracey, a longtime Crescent Beach resident who died last summer from von Hippel-Landau syndrome.
VHL is a rare genetic disorder that causes abnormal growth of blood vessels, which knot into tumours, some of which are cancerous.
Bracey’s first symptoms of VHL were discovered when he was 17, when tumours developed on his adrenal glands. Following surgery, he was symptom-free for 25 years, until tumours began to develop in his brain, pancreas, bowel and liver.
After a nine-year battle, he died last July 26.
Brooks described Bracey as “a great friend and mentor,” who he got to know through working with Bracey’s wife, Kathy, at the Peninsula Village Safeway.
A slo-pitch tournament was deemed the best way to celebrate Bracey’s life, Brooks said, adding the hope is to continue the tradition every June, on Bracey’s birthday weekend.
Saturday’s tournament raised $10,200 for the VHL Family Alliance, a organization that provides information and services for families and physicians dealing with the disease.
All 96 players and 27 volunteers who participated wore jerseys bearing Bracey’s number, 29.