Miracle League makes homerun fundraising pitch gŏđŏ editionap.ca
with disabilities or who have become infirm with age. There are more than 250 Miracle League groups in the United States, Can- ada, Puerto Rico and Australia, who have sponsored construction of ball fields and/or playground facilities designed with handi- capped children in mind. Last year Roland “Rolly” and Michelle Des- rochers contacted the Champions for Base- ball Ottawa non-profit community recre- ation group and the Rotary Club of Orléans and asked them to help support creating a Miracle League project for the National Capital Region. Their son, Bryce, wheel- chair-bound because of cerebral palsy, is an ardent baseball fan and they wanted him to have a chance to be able to play the game himself in a safe environment. After a year of organizing, gathering volunteers to form a board of directors and develop a business plan along with
Photo Gregg Chamberlain
ORLÉANS | Bryce Desrochers has a dream. He wants to play baseball on a real base- ball diamond and if the Miracle League of Ottawa has any say, he will get that chance. “We are all here because of an 11-year- old boy, Bryce, and his mum and dad,” said Doug Thorne, at the start of the weekend launch in Orléans of the Miracle League of Ottawa project. “We believe this project is really going to happen.” The Miracle League program is an in- ternational grassroots effort to develop community recreation facilities designed to meet the needs of children with physi- cal and mental handicaps and also adults
These young baseball fans are ready and eager for the groundbreaking day on the Miracle Leagueproject. BryceDesrochers (right), Kellen Schleyer, and Abby McKay in back with Homer the Miracle League mascot, all want a place where they too can play baseball like other kids. a draft concept plan, Ottawa has its own Miracle League group. On Nov. 9 at the Place d’Orléans Mall, representatives for the group and its supporters, including several Rotary Clubs of the Greater Ottawa and Orléans area, the City of Ottawa, and the provincial and federal governments, announced the launch of a major fundrais- ing drive to collect the $900,000 needed to build a Miracle League combined baseball field and playground facility on a parcel of municipal land in Orléans that the city has designated as part of its contribution to the project. Mayor Jim Watson also announced that the city will provide a dollar-for-dollar matching contribution to the pledge drive up to a maximum of $500,000. “We want all children, regardless of their abilities, to be able to play sports in our community,” said Mayor Watson. “So that children of all ages can experience that wonderful feel of getting a home run.” Len Goddard, chairman for the Miracle League of Ottawa project, and a spokes- man for all of the local Rotary Club groups backing the project, reported that the com- munity service clubs have already pledged $130,000 as part of the fundraising drive. David Gourlay, founder of the Champions for Ottawa Baseball group, announced that non-profit group have raised $15,000 for the Miracle League. Now the Miracle League group will begin canvassing both the public and private sec- tor for further pledges of support, both case and in-kind. “Whether it’s a small donation, or a large one,” said Roland Desrochers, “every little penny will help.” Meanwhile young Bryce, a diehard Toron- to Blue Jays fan, is eager for work to start on the Miracle League ball field. “I can’t wait,” he said, grinning. “I’ll be the first one on the field to run the bases.”
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