OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego Youth Fastpitch Softball Association held its championship tournament on Aug. 10. The top two teams battled for the first place trophy.
However, prior to the game, the two rivals as well as the rest of the league came together as one to recognize a young lady who didn’t play an inning this season.
“This year is especially important as one of our players, from the J&A Mechanical team, Makayla Walker, is presently undergoing chemotherapy to treat a desmoid tumor,” Shelley Rahn said. “She is scheduled to have surgery this week.”
She has been a member of the team for the past three years. However, due to her illness, she was unable to actively participate. But she was still a part of the team, her coach said.
All season long, the league has been holding fundraisers with proceeds benefiting Makayla to help offset some of her medical expenses.
The 12-year-old is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatment at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse.
The league has been offering a concession stand and sold “Team Makaya” T-shirts in her favorite colors (pink and green), according to Rahn.
Additionally, the Oswego Pride 12U softball team hosted a tournament and donated the profits from the T-shirt sales to Makayla, she added.
Dozens of people who bought a “Team Makayla” T-shirt wore it to the championship game to show their support.
Makayla threw out the first pitch of the game. It wasn’t exactly a strike.
“I play in the outfield. I’m not a pitcher,” Makayla explained.
For nearly a year now, Makayla has been battling an abdominal desmoid tumor. It is, in fact, so aggressive – it’s classified as a cancer.
“We’re going for surgery Friday,” Makayla’s dad, Shawn Walker, said. “It’s basically an exploratory surgery. She has been doing real well recently.”
Makayla’s tumor was diagnosed last fall. It was about the size of a football, he father noted. She said she is feeling good and is thankful for all the support she’s received.
The tumor is so large, doctors are attempting to shrink it before trying to remove it.
There are five other youngsters in the Oswego City School District suffering from cancer.
After this weekend’s game, league officials presented Makayla and her family with a check representing the amount of the proceeds from the concession and both T-shirt sales.
“We ended up with a total of $1,300. We had a $100 donation from John and Linda Rizzo, owners of CNY Jewelry Exchange who donated it after they read about Makayla (in the media). Just as the game was starting, Bob Farrell, one of the NYS Amateur Softball Association of America Commissioners, had his wife bring over a check for $100 after he read the article,” Shelley Rahn said. “The Pride 12U team had a T-shirt sale and raised $155. The concession stand was able to raise $530 and the rest came from the “Team Makayla” T-shirt sales.”
This spring, a fundraiser was held at the American Legion on West Bridge Street to give the Oswego youngster some support, emotional as well as financial.
“I appreciate all the support,” she said. “Everyone has been great.”
If anyone still wants to donate they can send checks to OYFSA c/o Mike Batchelor, 48 W. Second St., Oswego, NY 13126.