Legacy Charter softball helps battle cancer

A charity softball game between the Legacy Charter softball team and faculty raised money for Your Fight is Our Fight.

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  • | 10:31 a.m. May 12, 2021
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It’s a game for the ages: The Legacy Charter softball team versus a group of the school’s faculty in an all-out war on the softball field Tuesday, May 4.

In the middle of it all, inside the pitcher’s circle, stands Katherine Barnard — the Eagles’ head softball coach, who finds herself pitching against the same players she coaches.

With about every other pitch, Barnard lets out a smile, partly induced by the silliness and fun on the field. She also peeks into the crowd, who came out not only to to support the team but also support a good cause. Unlike years before, this game is being played to raise money for Your Fight is Our Fight as a part of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s Strikeout Cancer initiative.

“I was hoping, but you never know … I knew we would have a decent turnout, but when I started seeing all of the people and all of the cars, it really just filled my heart with so much joy,” Barnard said. “I know they may have come for different reasons. But just to know that they came and they knew the money was going to a good cause — it meant a lot. It really did.”

A couple of months ago, Barnard, a member of the NFCA, received an alert that the organization was restarting Strikeout Cancer. Barnard wanted to be involved — especially after everything that took place in the last few years.

Last year, Gail Cooper — an administrative assistant at the school — lost her battle with breast cancer, as did Barnard’s niece, Jennifer Fish, at age 35.

Fish originally was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2013. She went through two rounds of chemotherapy before the cancer went into remission. But in December of 2018, the cancer returned. After a year of fighting, she succumbed to her illness in 2019.

“She and I were very close — we were more like sisters, definitely not aunt and niece,” Barnard said. “Being able to do something in her honor and in her name — it feels good to do that.”

Through Strikeout Cancer, participants could choose any organization as a beneficiary, and originally, Barnard decided to give the proceeds from the game to the American Cancer Society. But that changed when Carly Mewhorter — a close friend of Fish — founded Your Fight is Our Fight in April.

Mewhorter’s organization — which is so new that it is still waiting for its tax-exempt status — will use the money to make chemo care packages for patients at local infusion centers who are battling cancer, Mewhorter said.

“It’s been great,” she said. “The camaraderie the coaches and the team have together is just cool to watch. It’s competitive, but it’s all for a good cause. It’s been pretty amazing — the turnout — and I think we’ll be able to do a lot of great things because of the turnout and the people.”

By the end of the day, the softball program had raised $1,400 for an event Barnard said she plans to keep going.

“We’re really hoping to make this something that we do every year — same thing,” she said. “I also partnered with Thrivent — it’s a financial company — and they actually do action teams, so they helped me fund this a little bit … so it actually helped me pay up front for some of the stuff. It was just kind of cool how everything fell into place, but this is definitely something that I want to carry on — I want to do it every year.”


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