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Charity softball event helps raise money for families affected by cancer

Monday night, about 100 girls from across the area played in the first "Play for Pink" cancer charity softball event at the Greater Johnstown Youth League Fields. (WJAC)

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WJAC) –- Monday night, about 100 girls from across the area played in the first "Play for Pink" cancer charity softball event at the Greater Johnstown Youth League Fields.

One by one, each player was announced, along with who they were playing in memory of or in honor of.

Cancer affects almost everyone in one way or another.

There were four games, eight teams and 102 girls. Each athlete played with a purpose.

"Every player was asked to give names of those that they know that are affected or that they want to come back and play for, and all those signs that are hanging up were made by the players," said 12U coach Mindy Wadsworth.

They call the signs the "wall of love."

"We play tonight, not to beat the other team, but to beat cancer." one sign read.

"There isn't a family that isn't affected by it,” said Bill Ladika, watching his two granddaughters play ball.

This night, there were no winners. It was about raising money for charity.

"That's it. That's the only reason. That's why I'm rooting for both teams,” said Dave Leverknight.

"We Fight Together" is the slogan of "Play for Pink."

"What started off as two teams, it turned into eight teams, like within a month, and it grew so fast,” said Beth Thomas. “So many people wanted to come out and help and be here. I'm just so blessed."

Thomas and Nicole Lewis are the co-coordinators of the games.

They're raising money for a charity called Inheritance of Hope, an organization that helps children and families who have lost a parent to cancer or other illnesses.

"Me and my family have personally been on one of the legacy retreats,” Thomas said. “It's an awesome experience, so this is my way of paying it forward to them, in hopes that maybe there's another family that could benefit from it."

In addition to the games, there was also a basket raffle, bake sale and amusement park tickets that were given away.

"Lot of baskets here. People are buying tickets, raffles, a lot of food, candy. Kids are having a great time," Ladika said.

A simple game of softball brought a community together to show a long line of survivors, and supporters, that they're not fighting alone.

"This was just an awesome time. It didn't matter who won or lost,” Wadsworth said. “We just had a great time playing for a great cause."

There was also a balloon release after all the games were finished. Organizers hope to make this an annual event.

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