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Lemonade For A Cure, With A Twist



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Lemonade For A Cure, With A Twist

By Shannon Hicks

What started with a simple request for a lemonade stand at one of this weekend’s Babe Ruth baseball games has, to say the least, grown exponentially.

Ivy Pearson’s idea has turned into a multiple-location event that will run for about seven hours, conclude with baseball players trying to lob a softball as close as possible to one of their coaches, and has the potential to raise a few hundred dollars for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Mrs Pearson will be raising funds for Team AHH (Always Have Hope), who will return to participate in Newtown’s 2011 Light The Night at Fairfield Hills on September 24. That fundraiser serves as the single largest fundraising event in Newtown each year for LLS.

Like Relay For Life, where teams raise funds in the months leading up to a central event as well as during a final central event with additional fund- and awareness-raising opportunities, Light The Night is an event that follows the same blueprint but for a shorter time. Where Relay For Life an overnight event, Light The Night’s main event wraps in about four hours.

Mrs Pearson has been raising money for LLS for ten years, including the last few as a member of the planning committee for Newtown Light The Night. She is driven by the memory of her father, who lost his life to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and her mother, who has leukemia.

“I want them to find a cure,” Mrs Pearson said simply.

On Saturday, June 11, thanks to an overwhelming response from Newtown Babe Ruth Baseball President Randy Dieckman, lemonade stands will be set up at all of the baseball fields that will be hosting Babe Ruth baseball games.

“I like to implement the Newtown Babe Ruth ball players, each fall and spring, to do some kind of fundraiser where the kids do something to give back to the community,” Mr Dieckman said this week. “Last year we did, on a whim, a one-day thing where we raised a few hundred dollars through donations. It turned out to be a big hit, so we’re bringing it back.”

The one-day thing to which Mr Dieckman was referring was the opportunity for Babe Ruth players to lob a softball into the outfield of one of the fields at Fairfield Hills, seeing who could get the softball as close to a coach as possible. The players stand on home plate and the ball has to bounce and roll toward the coach in the field; they can’t just throw the ball directly toward the coach.

The event was on September 25, the same night Newtown hosted its 2010 Light The Night event at Newtown Youth Academy.

“He showed up at the field when we were setting up our tent, handed me a wad of bills, and said, ‘I hope this helps,’” Mrs Pearson said. Mr Dieckman gave Mrs Pearson more than $350.

Mrs Pearson recently went to Mr Dieckman and asked if he would allow her to put up a table for a lemonade stand at one field.

“I was looking for one little card table at one location and he said, ‘Oh no, we can do a lot better for you,’” she said, smiling. “I don’t know how he has arranged everything so quickly and calmly, but it’s coming together wonderfully.”

Lemonade stands will be set up on Saturday at Glander Field at Fairfield Hills, Sandy Hook School, Hawley School, and Watertown Field (behind Reed Intermediate School). Volunteers will request $1 for two cups of lemonade, with additional donations certainly welcomed.

Games run from 9:30 am until about 5 pm, and the grand finale — a repeat of the softball toss into the outfield — will take place a Glander Field 1, off Mile Hill South, at 5 pm.

Mr Dieckman’s son Rory, who coaches in the 8- and 11-year old Babe Ruth divisions, has ties to the 12-year-old division, “and is known for his red shoes,” said Randy Dieckman, will be the outfield target.

“It’s like Coach Bocce,” said LLS Special Events Coordinator Kristen Angell, who is also helping Mrs Pearson prepare for Saturday’s fundraiser. “You want to get as close as possible without actually hitting the guy.”

“It’s a quick event, but you don’t want to miss it,” encouraged Mr Dieckman, who is also arranging for prizes for some of the best pitches.

Whether you go looking for a glass of lemonade on what is being predicted to be one of the hottest weekends of the year so far or just go out to watch the finale on Glander Field at 5 pm, residents can get some lemonade with a twist on June 11.

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