Benefit raises money for Murphy
America’s pastime has brought people together for over a century now, but when it does so to help a local player get through the trials of cancer, the sport takes a backseat to the cause.
Donning T-shirts that read "look up – get up – never give up," more than 100 children, parents, coaches and professional players congregated Saturday at Ford Park Baseball Fields in Beaumont to raise money for UH freshman infielder David Murphy’s battle with acute lymphoid leukemia.
"It’s pretty cool," Murphy said. "It’s a blessing to have all these people who care about you and are doing this for you."
Since being diagnosed with the disease in September, Murphy has been in and out of Texas Children’s Hospital, spending as much time with his Cougar teammates as possible.
"There are some days that are bad, but most of the days are good," Murphy said. "I’m still able to get out there and play like I want to, work out every once in a while and just maintain a normal life."
The Strike Out Leukemia benefit featured a baseball clinic and exhibition game for 7-18 year olds, a silent auction offering sports memorabilia and a blood drive where the blood donated was designated for Murphy.
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce, Minnesota Twins outfielder Jason Tyner and Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz were among the instructors participating in the baseball clinic.
Bruce and Murphy have been close friends since being teammates at West Brook High School in Beaumont.
"You always hear about people having (leukemia), but I’ve never known anyone who’s had it that is this close to me," Bruce said. "We just try to think of the best case scenario and keep our spirits up."
Buchholz plays in Boston with Jon Lester, a recent cancer survivor, and understands the hard work that has to be put into returning to a normal life.
"He’ll get through it," Buchholz said. "It’s just going to take a little work and some prayers.
"It’s neat to see a kid who’s going through something like this have all of these people out here supporting him."
By noon, close to $10,000 had been raised, but supporters hoped to double that before the benefit’s closing.
"We knew that we’d be blessed," said Kristi Fuselier, director of student activities for West Brook High School. "We just wanted to make sure that David and his family benefited from this."
At least 10 percent of the contributions will be given to the Leukemia Society in Murphy’s name. Donations are still being accepted by contacting Fuselier at [email protected] or (409) 617-5534.