A second benefit in as many weeks is being held at Lee S. Jones Park in Eddyville for 10-year-old cancer patient Owen Matthews.
A full day of baseball and softball for youth, an evening adult softball tournament, a corn hole tournament and more will kick off at 8 a.m. next Saturday. The Owen Tough Benefit comes just days after Friday’s American Legion Post 68 alumni game and home run derby at the park to help the Matthews family with medical bills and related expenses.
Lafe Riggs, organizer of next week’s benefit, said the Matthews family helped him out a couple of years ago when his son, also named Owen, was sick. He wanted to repay the favor to Chase and Jennifer Matthews, whose son has pediatric Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that forms in soft tissue, specifically skeletal muscle and hollow organs.
“It’s a really sweet family,” said Riggs, who lives in Eddyville.
Owen Matthews underwent a grueling surgery Thursday at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. The objective was to remove the entire tumor affecting his bodily functions. However, from social media posts by the boy’s mother detailing the family’s 300-day journey, surgery did not go as well as expected.
“We have not been given the news we were hoping for,” Jennifer wrote in a July 16 Facebook post. “Please remember our family in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
Riggs, who umpires and referees youth sports, said Owen Matthews is a big fan of America’s pastime, so the fundraiser next week is appropriate.
“He’s a baseball player,” Riggs said. “He loves to compete.”
A gate fee will be taken up to enter the park for the July 25 event. There will also be a donation jug set up for people who simply want to help out but cannot stay for the activities.
The day will feature both 8U softball and baseball in the morning across three fields. The T-ball field will be set up for a Wiffle ball home run derby. And a corn hole tournament is planned. At night, beginning around 6 or 7 p.m., a slow-pitch softball tournament will begin. Full concessions will be available all day.
“All proceeds go to the Matthews family,” Riggs assured.
For more information or to sign up teams for competition, contact Riggs at 270-564-5000 or find him on Facebook.