The eighth annual BFT’s Battle of the Bats will be a busy weekend, with 26 teams helping to raise money. This year the funds raised will go towards seven-month-old Neko Shulist and her family. Photo submitted

Battle of the Bats steps up to the plate for eighth annual fundraiser

The tournament will raise money for seven-month-old Neko Shulist who has a congenital heart defect

Hundreds of people will take to the field at Moir Park as they step up to the plate for the eighth annual BFT’s Battle of the Bats.

From Aug. 9-11 the annual slo-pitch fundraiser tournament will see 26 teams and nearly 400 people come out to help raise money.

“We raise money for local sick children and their families to help cover some of the expenses involved with their treatments and road to recovery,” explained Jordan Foreman, founder and organizer.

This year the money is being raised for seven-month-old Neko Shulist, who was born with a congenital heart defect.

“She is only seven-months-old and has had three open-heart surgeries already that were ultimately unsuccessful. She is just waiting to get a little bigger and stronger so they can try again,” said Foreman.

Welcomed into the world on Dec. 14, 2018, Shulist was born with Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) and a congenital heart defect.

Leading up to Shulist’s birth her parents had to travel back and forth to Calgary multiple times to prepare for her arrival.

After she was born her parents travelled to Calgary once a month for echocardiograms, ECG’s and other scans to determine when she would have to go to Edmonton for open-heart surgery.

On April 27 the family headed to Edmonton, for what they thought would be a one to two-week stay. However, it turned out to be a two-month stay and three open-heart surgeries, which was ultimately unsuccessful and had several complications.

Having been finally discharged, Shulist’s family travels to Calgary every three to four weeks to monitor her heart failure status and to determine when she will be going back to Edmonton.

Helping families like the Shulist’s who are going through tough times is what the fundraiser is all about. Throughout the eight years, it has continued to grow and become bigger. Foreman says the tournament has become very important to not only local families but the organizers.

“We think it’s super important to keep growing this amazing tournament and fundraiser, and what it stands for,” he said. “It’s truly a great feeling to be able to donate a good chunk of money to a family who could really use it. Everyone we have donated to over the past eight years has been extremely grateful and most who have recovered and gotten better have given back to this tournament to help other sick children, which is super cool to see.”

Foreman says they couldn’t have continued to have a successful tournament without all of the sponsors.

“The business community has really stepped up for us in the past few years. This year is our biggest showing yet in terms of sponsorship with 102 amazing businesses stepping up to help us raise as much money as possible,” he said.

As well, Foreman notes all of the volunteers throughout the tournament are what makes it so successful, and he thanks them for all the support.

Attendees will not only get to watch a fun weekend of baseball, including local and out of town teams, but there is also an auction table, a 50/50 draw, Battle of the Bats swag and giveaways. As well, there is a beer garden and a barbecue with Mike Burgers, from Mr. Mikes.

Games will start at 6 p.m. on Aug. 9 and run throughout the weekend with the finals on Aug. 11 around 5:30 p.m. The ever-popular home run derby will be held Aug. 10 at 2 p.m. The weekend will go as planned rain or shine.

More information and details can be found on the BFT’s Battle of the Bats Facebook page.

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