Community hits it out of the park for Home Runs for Rose
On Saturday June 16, the 3rd Annual Home Runs for Rose was held at the Cameron Elks Lodge south of Cameron. A softball tournament began at 6 a.m. and teams played throughout the day. There was a pancake breakfast, petting zoo, vendors, silent auction, face painting, sand pits, a misting area and play area for children, and music all day, superheroes and even the KC Wolf, with the final act of the evening being Shenandoah, who made Home Runs for Rose a stop on their 30 year anniversary tour. Another special opportunity was presented at Home Runs for Rose with volunteers on hand to take swabs for people to be checked to see if they are a match on the bone marrow registry and to sign up to be a bone marrow donor, 72 people signed up that day.
The Home Runs for Rose fundraiser began three years ago when the Lowenstein’s daughter Rose was diagnosed with cancer, a long time family friend Matt Vaughn stepped up and said let’s have a softball tournament to raise money for the family’s expenses as they travel back and forth. The Lowenstein’s daughter Rose went through many treatments and was declared no sign of disease in 2016, with regular checkups scheduled, but Billy and Brittany, her parents had seen the impact the travel, the stress, the time off work takes on families first hand and they decided to begin the Rose Lowenstein Foundation to help support families whose children are battling cancer. As Brittany Lowenstein said at Home Runs for Rose, there are many organizations who support childhood cancer research and they are extremely important, but the focus of the Rose Lowenstein Foundation is to raise awareness about the prevalence of childhood cancer and also to directly assist families in the community who are having to travel for treatment, taking off work, and dealing with the day to day impact of childhood cancer on their lives.
Every year the community of Cameron and Northwest Missouri has stepped up to support this organization and the Home Runs for Rose Softball Tournament and Music Festival and this year was no exception.
Over 3,000 people came out to support Home Runs for Rose and raise money for the Rose Lowenstein foundation. The total amount of money raised was over $28,000 – which will allow the foundation to donate $5,000 each to area families affected by childhood cancer.
The winner of the softball tournament for the third year in a row was Team Rampage, headed by Matt Vaughn, the family friend who began Home Runs for Rose three years ago.
Billy and Brittany Lowenstein said over and over again how grateful they were to all the people who had volunteered, all the companies who contributed and the entire community who comes together year after year to support the organization.
One person can raise awareness of childhood cancer, but it takes a community to make a difference, is the motto of the Rose Lowenstein Foundation and the Northwest Missouri Community certainly stepped forward to show the truth in that statement at Home Runs for Rose.
Here are some of the stories of the Home Runs for Rose Heroes whose families will be receiving donations from this year’s Home Runs for Rose. One in 285 children are diagnosed with childhood cancer.
Maddie is only three years old but hasn’t yet known a life that hasn’t involved doctors visits, tubes, and needles according to her uncle, Paul, who told her story at Home Runs for Rose. Maddie was diagnosed with failure to thrive and was diagnosed with failure to thrive and an allergy to soy and dairy, which left her with not many options for things to eat. She began sleeping for 20 hours a day with no answers from doctors. At Christmas she wasn’t very enthusiastic and didn’t show much interest in presents. Three days after Christmas she was diagnosed with leukemia after her first month of treatment, she was diagnosed with high risk cancer. Now Maddie has to take treatments five days a week for 24 hours a day. She couldn’t be at Home Runs for Rose because she was taking one of those treatments.
Shannon Padgett stood up to tell her story, Shannon is a 17 year old student at Cameron High School and a Ewing Sarcoma survivor. During her Sophomore year in high school she went to the doctor repeatedly and was told she had a sinus infection, it was at an eye doctor’s appointment a doctor noticed her optic nerve was inflamed and told her to go to the ER immediately. Shannon began chemotherapy and in March of 2017 she had the tumor removed and on January 31 of this year after almost a year of chemo, she was declared cancer free.
The Gaige Robeson family stepped forward to talk about Gaige’s journey. Gaige was diagnosed with Pilocytic Astrocytoma (Brain Tumor) at 5 years of age. He endured 6 consecutive months in the hospital following 15+ surgeries. 95% of the tumor was resected, however, the other 5% they were not able to remove due to location. He is considered legally blind, but is constantly going to therapy to get better and better. He recently started school - major milestone for him and his family!
Kevin and his family were at Home Runs for Rose, Kevin has is going through his third relapse and was running around enjoying the day with his family. His mother’s speech was emotional, short and sweet as she said, “Some people wait their whole lives to meet their heroes, I raised mine.”
Vicki is another Cameron area resident and her mother stepped forward to tell her story. Victoria was diagnosed with cancer two days after she was born. Her tumor was removed at six days old, two months later they discovered the cancer had spread before they could remove it. Four months of chemo took care of that bit of cancer, but continued her check ups. In December of 2015 they were given the cancer free news. As of November of this year, she will be 11 years old.
Amanda, mother of Eowyn, stepped forward to tell the story of her daughter. She decided to tell how quickly your life could change when your child is diagnosed with cancer. Every year, her husband has a family picnic and they took their family to the picnic and Eowyn was super excited. Every time she stood up, out of her chair, she knocked chairs down and everyone was joking about who brought the “drunk baby to the picnic.” After a long, fairly normal day, Eowyn, who was 4 went to get ready for bed and fell down the stairs. Her family took her to Children’s Mercy and according to Amanda, they are a soccer family and were ready and understanding of how to deal with a concussion. After the observation for a concussion, Eowyn wasn’t yet walking right. They did a CT scan and they came back and told them, there was a mass on her brain stem. Amanda said, they went from a completely normal weekend to a terminal cancer diagnosis with only a year to go. They were able to find an experimental treatment in Mexico which was going to cost $300,000 which the insurance would not pay. Thanks to foundations like the Rose Lowenstein Foundation and others, Amanda says they were able to buy 341 days with Eowyn. Eowyn passed away on Mother’s Day.
Kennedy’s mother Sheri stepped forward to tell Kennedy’s story. Sheri said she thought Kennedy had a bug bite and took her to the doctor, she was treated for an infection, but it didn’t seem to get better, so they did a scan, it was a Thursday and by Thursday night their nurse practitioner was looking for them at a FFA program in the park to tell them it looked like there was a tumor in Kennedy’s leg and they had sent it off to Children’s Mercy. By the next morning they wanted them at Children’s Mercy by 9 am. That was in 2014.
There was a tumor in the back of her leg and they removed seven inches of her fibula, since it is not a weight bearing bone, they did not replace it. The doctors had to remove muscles, veins, tendons, including the tumor. They spent all holidays in the hospital that year. When they went in, they told them, give us a year of your life and we will make it better and they did. Byron, Kennedy’s father stepped forward and spoke about “scan anxiety” – the fear every time you go in for another scan wondering if it is going to be clear or if they are going to tell you that the cancer in your child has returned. Kennedy has been cancer free for four years.
The Rose Lowenstein Foundation has set up a scholarship called the Taylor Flip Finley Memorial Scholarship as well and this year’s recipient of the scholarship will be Shannon Padgett.
Anyone who would like to donate year round to the Rose Lowenstein Foundation is encouraged to visit: http://roselowensteinfoundation.org/donate/
Photos by Annette Bauer and Mike Hanrahan