As this 2008 photo suggests, plenty of folks turn out every year to support Pawtucket resident Edd Pedro and his âFight For A Cure Wiffle Ball Tournament and Mega-Raffle.â The 10th installment of this important event will take place this Sunday at Slater Park.
PAWTUCKET â As difficult it is to get the word out, glean sponsors, attract teams from â at the very least, from eastern half of the United States â and put it all together for a premier event, Edd Pedro revels in it all.
Pedro, with the help of some family members and friends, is about to host his 10th annual âFight For A Cure Wiffle Ball Tournament and Mega-Raffleâ at Slater Park beginning at 9 a.m. sharp Sunday.
âI canât believe itâs our 10th; the time has flown by,â the Pawtucket native and event director stated recently. âItâs been tough. Itâs been a grind. When you work full-time and youâre trying to get sponsors, get teams registered, publicize the tournament, etc., it can be really hard.
âThe amount of work to pull it off, itâs been stressful, but so worthwhile,â he added. âYou always know youâre trying to do a good thing, a really special thing.â
After the ninth-ever extravaganza raised $23,000 for the fight against Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Pedro now hopes to gather approximately the same amount this time around.
âWeâve raised $220,000-plus over the past nine years, and weâd love to eclipse the quarter-million-dollar mark,â he noted. âIf we get there, here in our 10th year, that would be truly remarkable, but weâre going to need help. If there are any corporate sponsors out there, itâs tax-deductible, so you can have them give me a call! The same goes for any teams who want to sign up.â
Pedro has always maintained a laid-back, fun-loving demeanor, despite the fact he initially created this fete â one that took place on Sept. 11, 2004 â to help his then-three-year-old daughter, Kelsey.
She had been diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis several months before, and it was his notion to assemble a fete that would aid in finding a cure.
Two years ago, Pedro said his âlittle girlâ had been taken off all medications by her doctors. Last summer, her slide forced physicians to reinstate them.
âSheâs taking what basically is a cancer medication because of the pain in her knees,â he said then. âStill, sheâs doing OK. Sheâs a fighter, always has been.â
Before this one kicks off, Pedro is excited (and relieved) to say Kelsey is back in âcruise mode.
âSheâs doing great!â he indicated. âSheâs a freshman-to-be at Tolman (at age 13), and she made the football cheerleading squad. She was dancing at Dance Workshops in North Providence, but she gave it up to concentrate on the cheerleading, and also schoolwork.
âThe medications she started taking last year at this time are working well, so everythingâs good. Weâre so proud of Kelsey.â
He also wanted to make sure that everyone knew that sign-ups are winding down, but thereâs still a short time for those interested to take part. As of Tuesday, Pedro had about 20 teams registered for the Adult Competitive Division, and another 25 slated to take the field in the âJust for Funâ category.
âWe only have three teams signed up for the Youth Division, but we wonât have it if there arenât more,â he mentioned. âStill, theyâll play in the âJust for Funâ (tourney). Iâll tell you, we have a lot of surprises in store.â
Heâs not kidding. Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis âOil Canâ Boyd will attend, not to mention Pawtucket Red Sox co-mascot âPaws.â
âA friend of a friend of mine helped me contact Oil Can, and when I asked, he told me, âSure, Iâll come on down!ââ Pedro said. âIâm thrilled about it. To have a BoSox legend to be there, I canât believe it! Itâs awesome!â
The good news: Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien has registered a pair of teams, one each in the âJust for Funâ and youth events.
âIâm so glad the mayor is coming again,â Pedro said. âIf we have more youth teams, we will have that.â
Pedro is also ecstatic at the amount of prizes collected for the Mega-Raffle. Highlighting the list: Two tickets for a Red Sox-White Sox game at Fenway Park; there is no solid date yet, but the seats will be in the 11th row behind home plate.
âEvery time a right-handed batter goes to the box, youâll be on TV (NESN),â Pedro chuckled. âItâs a great prize.â
Others include two Boston Bruins ducats in a luxury box (with free food and drinks, âexcluding cocktails,â Pedro laughed again); greens fees for a foursome at Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown; a deep-sea fishing expedition out of Block Island; and dozens of restaurant gift certificates. Thereâs also an opportunity to win Patriots tickets to a 2013 home game.
Most raffle items will be available at a price of $1 per ticket. There also will be eight silent auctions, with one offering the chance to throw out the first pitch at a PawSox game, another the opportunity to win (and imbibe) 12 cases of Samuel Adams beer.
Pedro pointed out that winners need not be present to claim their awards.
The event will have a plethora of amenities, among them: A rock-climbing wall, two âbouncy houses,â music, concessions, etc. Representatives of the Rhode Island Blood center will conduct a drive at Slater Park as well.
To register for Wiffle Ball, fees are $35 per player (minimum three per squad). Every participant will receive a free $10 tourney T-shirt.
To register for the tourney, visit www.wiffleman.com, or e-mail email@example.com.
For more information, call Pedro directly at (401) 447-4486.
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