A slow pitch tournament held in Clearwater over the Labor Day weekend raised over $2,800 to help a local family whose baby was born with a cleft lip and partial cleft palate.
Valon Bonner was born April 26, 2014 to Megan Carter and Corey Bonner. He was six weeks early and spent the first 17 days of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit in Kamloops hospital.
Since then he and his family have travelled to Vancouver every two weeks to meet with doctors at BC Children’s Hospital and an orthodontist.
Valon is now just over four months old and waiting for his first surgery on Sept. 17 in Vancouver.
For the surgery his family will be in Vancouver for one week, with only one parent allowed to stay in the hospital.
“Being born with a cleft palate in Canada means that the various surgeries are covered by health care, but the trips to Vancouver, including food, lodging and gas, as well as time off work, will be at our own expense, as we have already used all our funds from our benefits through work for previous trips,” said Megan Carter, Valon’s mother.
“Even after Valon’s first surgery we still will have a lot more trips to Vancouver, as this will be ongoing until he is 18 years old.”
During the Labor Day weekend owner of NTPD Jason Mann and Nicole Rushton fundraised at North Thompson Pounders’ annual slow pitch tournament for the family.
With the help of the teams and locals they raised over $2,800 to help cover some of the expenses the family has accrued along the way and to help with future expenses.
“This money has taken a lot of stress off us as parents as it is quite expensive to go down so often,” Carter said.
“We want to say a huge thanks to everybody who came down and supported us. It makes us feel so special to come from a community like Clearwater and to see the love that comes from people in a small town.”
A team from Alberta, the Kamikaze Platypus, donated all its winnings from the tournament, as did the Stingers, the Pounders, Bahlz Deep and Honey Badgers.
Other teams that participated were the Freaky Bears, Out for a Rip, Multiple Skorgasms and Jackandoff.
Carter added that Bailey’s Bistro made a donation, as did Rona, which supplied the popcorn maker. Several people made personal donations as well.
“Words cannot express the gratitude we have,” said the mother.
“Thank you to everybody. This is the true meaning of paying it forward!” she said.