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PAWTUCKET -- Edd Pedro has only a few wants for his ninth annual âFight for a Cure Mega-Raffle and Wiffleball Tournament,â slated to begin at 9 a.m., Sunday at Slater Park.
First and foremost, heâd love the day to be graced by good weather; second, he hopes to raise $20,000 to give to the Arthritis Foundation, with the New England regional headquarters stationed in Warwick; and, finally, heâd like for a few more teams to register for the tourneyâs divisions, including Adult Competitive, âJust for Funâ and Youth (12-and-under).
âI definitely donât want a monsoon like we had last year,â he chuckled. âI just want sunshine and a great day. I canât wait to see my friends and family, who come down to support us, especially Kelsey (his daughter). Weâre looking for a terrific day of wiffleball and camaraderie.â
Pedro decided back in 2003 to try to develop an event to help his then-three-year-old Kelsey, who had been diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, an affliction that causes great pain and swelling in the joints.
Just last year at this time, Pedro announced that doctors had taken Kelsey off all medications, including a weekly shot. Unfortunately, he couldnât say the same on Monday night.
âKelseyâs back on her meds; sheâs taking what basically is a cancer medication because of the pain in her knees,â Pedro sighed. âStill, sheâs doing OK. Sheâs a fighter, always had been.â
Pedro indicated he has received registrations from 22 teams in the Adult Competitive category, and about 25 in the âJust for Funâ division. Because heâs only collected about four in the youth category, he claimed he may have to nix it.
âItâs coming along, but I may not have one for the youths because we havenât got a lot of interest in it; thatâs in limbo right now,â he stated. âThe good news is theyâve agreed to play in the âJust for Funâ division.
âItâs definitely not too late to sign up, but time is of the essence,â he added, noting that anyone interested in registering to play waffle ball may do so by visiting www.wiffleman.com, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration fee is $35 per person, and each squad should have a minimum of three players (thereâs no maximum amount). With that fee, each will receive a free T-shirt.
âWeâre absolutely looking for more teams, the more the merrier,â he said. âStill, spots are limited, except for the Youth division. If we get two or three more Youth teams, weâll open that up again, without question.
âOrganizing this does get tiresome,â he continued. âThis has been the toughest year yet because of my work (with the U.S. Postal Service), my family obligations and putting this together. I think a lot of it has to do with the economyWorking full-time, and with my three kids playing sports â Kelseyâs into dancing â it gets hard, but my daughterâs health is paramount to me and everyone else who helps us.
âThis is coming along. Iâve got teams coming from all over New England â two from Maine and one from Pennsylvania. I had teams from Missouri and Washington come in last year, but not from that far away this year. Like I said, the economy.â
Pedro raised $24,000 last summer and $26,000 the year before that; all told, he and his friends acting as organizers have collected $197,000. Should he receive $23,000 this time around, heâd eclipse the $220,000 mark.
After the tourney, the Mega-Raffle is the key to bringing in the crowds, which often ranks over 1,500 and is one of the premier fundraisers in the region.
âWeâve compiled, right now, 36 prizes for the Mega-Raffle,â he explained, adding tickets are on sale for $5 each or six for $25. âWe also have about 120 for the smaller raffle; those tickets are one for a dollar and six for $5.â
For the larger, heâs racked up donations including two ducats for a Red Sox-Blue Jays tilt in early September (with seats located just 11 rows from the Toronto dugout) at Fenway Park; a round of golf for four at Quidnessett Country Club in North Kingstown (plus carts); four laps with a NASCAR driver at Loudon (N.H.) International Speedway; an autographed jersey from Red Sox pitchers Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester; a weekend getaway to a Vermont resort; and a framed, autographed photo of the Celticsâ original âBig Three,â Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parrish (it also comes with a section of the old Garden parquet floor and a game-used net).
There are so many more: A Mega-wicker wine/liquor basket; an autographed photo of Boston Bruinsâ legends Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque; a deep-sea fishing expedition, courtesy of Hula Charter of Block Island; an autographed photo of retired New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi tossing snow into the air after the Patsâ victory over Miami in December 2003; a photo of the Beatles with lithographed signatures; and an extra-large photograph of Bruinsâ goalie Tim Thomas clutching the 2011 Stanley Cup.
Among the prizes for the more diminutive, less expensive raffle: A Keurig One-Cup coffee maker; several large Pastene pasta boxes (each with a $250 value); a $1,000 gift certificate to a kitchen store; $300 worth of Samsonite luggage; and loads of local gift cards.
âAll of this money goes to the Arthritis Foundation; it has been so great in helping out Kelsey and my family,â Pedro said. âThey write grants for kids with Juvenile Rheumatois Arthritis so they attend summer camps and other activities during the year. It definitely helps them, because they share time together and talk about what theyâre going through.â
When asked if he will represent a team this time, Pedro laughed, âI donât think so. Iâm still on injured reserve. Iâm still nursing a shoulder injury I had from playing and reffing in menâs hockey leagues.
âIf we raise $20,000 with this event, Iâd be elated,â he added. âThat would definitely be considered a success. If people like wiffleball, or taking part if raffles, they wonât want to miss this thing.â
The tourney will be held at the field closest to the Mike Kenny Tennis Courts at Slater Park, and the raffles and silent auction in the vicinity of the old boathouse.
For more information, or to register, call Pedro at (401) 725-1619, or visit www.wiffleman.com.