Smackover will host Harmony Grove in a softball matchup, beginning at 4:30 p.m. today. Every game is important but, for the Lady Bucks, today’s game is special for a reason off the field.
Coach Dennis Steele announced his team will wear pink to honor the Team Corrie Cancer Foundation.
All admission fees to the game will be donated to the foundation. Donations can also be made at the gate entering the game.
“I just think it’s a great tribute to their family and all the things they’ve done for Union County,” said Steele. “I think it’s a great cause. Mr. and Mrs. Gross, I don’t know how much money they pay out each year but it’s quite a bit in Union County. It’s a great tribute to their family and their daughter and we can carry that on in their memory.”
The Team Corrie Cancer Foundation was formed for the daughter of current Smackover superintendent John Gross, who held the same position at Parkers Chapel at the time.
“Coach Steele has scheduled this ballgame and they’re going to raise the money for the Team Corrie Foundation. What that is was back a few years ago when our daughter was fighting cancer. Her name was Corrie,” Gross explained. “When she was fighting cancer, several of her friends organized the ‘Paint the Town Pink’ and helped raise money to help her battle cancer. When she passed away, my wife and my daughter, and there were several others in the community, got together and started the Team Corrie Cancer Foundation that raises money to help anyone in Union County that’s fighting cancer. It gives thousand-dollar grants to anyone in Union County that’s fighting cancer. To this date, we’ve given 98 grants so far and have had more applications that should be approved in the next few days. So, we’re looking forward to the hundredth thousand-dollar grant to be given to the people of Union County who are battling cancer. We have several different fundraisers that we do. Coach Steele wanted the softball girls to help us with our endeavor.”
Gross talked about some of the other projects underway in the battle against the disease, including one aimed at helping children.
“We make yarn wigs for children that fight cancer,” he said. “My wife and several of the ladies around the community and around the county, when kids lose their hair, the scalp is real sensitive. They use a real soft yarn and they make things like princess wigs, Princess Elsa and Rapunzel and there’s a lot of different Disney-themed type wigs they make and send them off to the hospitals (Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital and Healthcare of Atlanta). So far, we’ve sent off 248 wigs for children that are battling cancer. If they lose their hair, they wear these wigs and it makes them feel good. Let them pretend they’re a princess. It’s just a thing my family is doing to help people with cancer.”
The foundation, over the years, has become a community-wide effort. Gross said the annual Paint the Town Pink event is the main fundraiser, but other organizations have pitched in as well. Smackover’s cheerleaders and basketball teams participated along with the athletic teams in Parkers Chapel. Steele said the Lady Bucks will don pink jerseys today with the words, “Team Corrie,” emblazoned on the front.
“We thank Coach Steele and the softball team for all they’ve done to help us. This is not the first time they’ve done this,” said Gross.
“They recognize the need and they see what we’re doing. A hundred percent of the funds go to the people in Union County that are battling cancer. It is a county-wide effort just to help us support each other and strengthen our community.”
Steele said admission is $5, which will go to the foundation. Extra money can also be donated at the gate.