PAWTUCKET -- Edd Pedro has only a few wants for his ninth annual “Fight for a Cure Mega-Raffle and Wiffleball Tournament,” slated to begin at 9 a.m., Sunday at Slater Park.
First and foremost, he’d 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, he’d like for a few more teams to register for the tourney’s divisions, including Adult Competitive, “Just for Fun” and Youth (12-and-under).
“I definitely don’t want a monsoon like we had last year,” he chuckled. “I just want sunshine and a great day. I can’t wait to see my friends and family, who come down to support us, especially Kelsey (his daughter). We’re looking for a terrific day of wiffleball and camaraderie.”
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 couldn’t say the same on Monday night.
“Kelsey’s back on her meds; she’s taking what basically is a cancer medication because of the pain in her knees,” Pedro sighed. “Still, she’s doing OK. She’s a fighter, always had been.”
Pedro indicated he has received registrations from 22 teams in the Adult Competitive category, and about 25 in the “Just for Fun” division. Because he’s only collected about four in the youth category, he claimed he may have to nix it.
“It’s coming along, but I may not have one for the youths because we haven’t got a lot of interest in it; that’s in limbo right now,” he stated. “The good news is they’ve agreed to play in the ‘Just for Fun’ division.
“It’s definitely not too late to sign up, but time is of the essence,” 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 (there’s no maximum amount). With that fee, each will receive a free T-shirt.
“We’re absolutely looking for more teams, the more the merrier,” he said. “Still, spots are limited, except for the Youth division. If we get two or three more Youth teams, we’ll open that up again, without question.
“Organizing this does get tiresome,” he continued. “This 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 – Kelsey’s into dancing – it gets hard, but my daughter’s health is paramount to me and everyone else who helps us.
“This is coming along. I’ve got teams coming from all over New England – 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.”
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, he’d 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.
“We’ve compiled, right now, 36 prizes for the Mega-Raffle,” he explained, adding tickets are on sale for $5 each or six for $25. “We also have about 120 for the smaller raffle; those tickets are one for a dollar and six for $5.”
For the larger, he’s 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 Celtics’ original “Big Three,” 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 Bruins’ 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 Pats’ victory over Miami in December 2003; a photo of the Beatles with lithographed signatures; and an extra-large photograph of Bruins’ 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.
“All of this money goes to the Arthritis Foundation; it has been so great in helping out Kelsey and my family,” Pedro said. “They 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 they’re going through.”
When asked if he will represent a team this time, Pedro laughed, “I don’t think so. I’m still on injured reserve. I’m still nursing a shoulder injury I had from playing and reffing in men’s hockey leagues.
“If we raise $20,000 with this event, I’d be elated,” he added. “That would definitely be considered a success. If people like wiffleball, or taking part if raffles, they won’t want to miss this thing.”
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 .