Bats were swinging on Sunday in Barre for Freezing Fun For Families.
"It's a softball tournament, but they all know why they are here. And it's made known to them that we are here for these two girls," said Corey Touchette, the tournament's organizer.
The two girls are Ashley Church and Jasmine Paye -- both have cancer.
"It's a good feeling knowing there a lot of people out there who are caring and willing to help," Church said.
And the help has come in high numbers -- the weekend long tournament raised more than $25,000, all of which goes directly to the girls.
"The money we raise doesn't really go towards medical bills and stuff like that. It's the everyday stuff, that unless you have a kid that is fighting cancer, that you don't realize. The back and forth to Dartmouth, the trips to Philly, the mom being away for three weeks and dad being home -- that kind of stuff to help alleviate stress," Touchette said.
"It is just one less thing we have to worry about going through this -- financially," said Beth Paye, Jasmine's mother.
Since the tournament began 14 years ago, two special kids are selected and given 100 percent of the money raised that year. Since it first began the tournament has raised more than $400,000 for children with cancer.
This year, there were 68 teams taking part and more than 4,000 spectators. The girls are from Colchester and East Rygate, but the amount of support in Barre seemed like the two were right at home. "But that doesn't matter -- they have been doing this for 14 years and Vermont is a small state. And the wonderful thing about Vermont is, like we were saying, everybody knows somebody," said Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon.
And it wasn't just Vermonters who came to play. Many teams traveled from all over New England. "That was actually the part I think I liked the best," Ashley Church said. People who don't even know me are willing to help out."
"It's just amazing to see the people come out and support us. There have been friends and family and people we don't even know," Beth Paye said.
"They are all so kind," Jasmine Paye said.
Organizers said they want annual tournament to continue for many years -- so does Ashley. "Next year I'm hoping I'll be good enough, I'll be well enough to play in one of the games," she said.
Getting the help that is well deserved, to continue a journey that is inspiring many sluggers on the field.
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