Pelham softball gives back to community with Home Runs for Hearts

Published 10:24 am Thursday, May 2, 2024

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By BRENNA VICKERY | Special to the Reporter

PELHAM – Amid a busy season, Pelham softball still remembers to give back to its community. The players started a movement this season called “Home Runs for Hearts.”

This cause hits close to home, especially for Pelham softball coach Micheal Hock. His nephew Brooks was born with numerous heart conditions and spent extensive time in the hospital recovering.

The team has decided to partner with The Children’s Heart Foundation, an organization dedicated to funding research on children’s congenital heart defects, to join them on their journey of making the world a better place for the hearts of children.

To assist the cause, Pelham softball collected pledges from family members, teachers, and members of the community before the start of the season. For each home run hit, contributions are donated to saving the lives of children around the world.

The Children’s Heart Foundation has financed 160 research projects aiming to make strides in the realm of children’s heart health. The foundation hosts numerous events nationwide such as the Nashville Congenital Heart Walk to fundraise and spread awareness of heart conditions.

The need for their work is apparent each day as every fifteen minutes, a child is born with a congenital heart defects diagnosis. The condition is developed within the first six weeks of pregnancy as a baby’s heart develops.

The causes are not certain, so preventing the illness is nearly impossible. Effects of the condition can range from anxiety to heart failure. Raising funds and awareness for children’s heart health is integral to bettering the lives and futures of families worldwide.

The team has developed a signature celebration to commemorate the significance of their athletic achievements. As they watch the ball fly over the fence, and see their teammates rounding the bases, each of the girls forms a heart with their hands and proudly raises them.

Pelham softball player Jordan Howard shared how the experience has impacted her.

“It has motivated me to do better so that generations to come have a brighter future,” Howard said. “Not only do I have something to look forward to at home plate, it helps the team stay focused on the bigger picture.”

The team and its iconic heart celebration have become known throughout campus as a symbol of comradery.

Pelham works to instill a strong spirit of service within its students, and the softball program is an embodiment of these values.

The positive impacts of the fundraiser have been noted by people close to the program. Megan Whitten, a mother of a Pelham player, shared her gratitude that the Panthers are supporting an organization that has special meaning to her family.

“The Children’s Heart Foundation is a foundation we hold close to home as my son was born with a major heart defect,” Whitten said. “It was an honor to hear that Pelham High School softball chose to create ‘Home Runs for Hearts’ to raise support for something that seems to be more and more common in children but is allowing them the opportunity to live full childhoods with their condition.”

In the end, “Home Runs for Hearts” serves as a reminder sports are so much more than a game.