Smiles, sun, and softball were the highlight of 9-year-old Drew Bailey Hansen’s weekend, as she played in a tournament organized by family and friends to raise awareness for Crohn’s disease.
In a three-day long event, known as the first Annual Strikeout Crohn’s Co-Ed Softball Tournament at Greenport’s Polo Grounds Softball Field — Doobee, as she is more affectionately known — was able to raise almost $17,000 for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
And they’re not stopping there.
In just a few short weeks, Doobee will be participating in the foundation’s Take Steps for Crohn’s & Colitis walk at Stony Brook University on Oct. 19, with monies from this past weekend’s event going towards her team’s donation.
Diagnosed at just 3-years-old, she and her family have found optimism and courage in helping to raise awareness for the chronic disease they face each and every day. There is no cure for the disease, which affects the bowels and causes abdominal pain, weight loss and fatigue.
“My daughter is one of the bravest, funkiest, most amazing girls you could ever meet, and at just 9-years-old, she is wise beyond her years,” said her mother Martha, who helped organize what the family hopes will become an annual tradition.
“We feel this is the only thing we can do to help her and help others that are suffering,” she said. “It gives us purpose.”
Ms. Hansen said it was her husband Johne and his friend Andres Puerta who came up with the idea of a tournament. In total, 10 teams came out for the event, each donating a $400 entry fee. Lewin Farms, captained by Mike Bieber, beat Claudio’s led by Ian Ryan, in the finals by a score of 7-4.
She said the family was shocked to receive its most gracious donation — $10,000 — that came from the family of Austin Miller, a travel baseball player for the North Fork Ospreys that her family has hosted for the past two summers.
“My husband thought of everything, kids games, prizes and even an opening pitch ceremony,” she said, describing the weekend, which was filled with games and events.
“For the amount of fun that was had, I’m pretty sure we will definitely do it again next year,” Ms. Hansen said.
Those who missed the tournament but would like to make a donation for Doobee’s team can visit the foundation website.