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Thunder beating cancer with bats

July 22, 2011|By DAN KAUFFMAN |

Since the start of summer, the Hagerstown-based Tri-State Thunder fast-pitch softball organization has done its part fighting the battle against cancer.

It’s a fight the Thunder 18U Gold team will continue Saturday at the Pinesburg complex in Williamsport from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Thunder are participating in the “Beat Cancer with a Bat” campaign in conjunction with the National Foundation for Cancer Research. Each weekend, the Thunder coaches and players have solicited donations and asked for contributions from local businesses based on the number of runs they score. The team has raised more than $700 already.

“I like to know that my players grow as individuals and not just as softball players. I wanted to offer the team a way to give back and learn a little about the important things in life,” Thunder president and coach Missy Cutchall said. “Sometimes, softball games seem so real and so important. I think it’s good that my girls are able to see that there are more important things in life than sports and put things into perspective.

“If we lose a game, we get to move on and do it again tomorrow. If cancer patients lose a battle, they don’t.”

One Thunder player knows that all too well.

Savannah Williams, who just graduated from Hedgesville High School, lost her father suddenly to cancer when she was 8 years old. He died two days after going to the hospital and 24 hours after being diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia, which caused a lethal cerebral hemorrhage.

“Doing the fundraiser has given her an avenue to discuss her situation and a chance to educate others and help raise funds to help work toward preventing the situation for others in the future,” Cutchall said. “It’s helped her be able to talk about the situation and come to terms with it.”

Over the last two months, the Thunder players have heard many stories from those who have been personally affected by cancer.

“There hasn’t been one day of fundraising that the girls have returned from without having been touched by someone’s story,” Cutchall said. “Hopefully those stories are not just inspirational to the girls, but put things into perspective.”

Those who wish to contribute to the “Beat Cancer With a Bat” program can make a check out to Tri-State Thunder or the National Foundation for Cancer Research. For more information, contact Cutchall by email at

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