FARMINGTON — Two teams are forming for a casual, fun game of kickball with a goal of raising $3,000 to help find a cure for childhood cancer.
Players are needed to square off against a team formed by Farmington police Chief Jack Peck as part of the national program, Kick-It, said Jennifer Chretien, Farmington's organizer.
The Kick-It game takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, in the Little League Field at Hippach Field. A rain date is set for the same time and place on Sept. 29.
Chretien, an avid fan of NASCAR and driver Jeff Gordon, decided to organize the game when Gordon, through the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, announced he'd personally match every dollar raised on behalf of his foundation's Kick-It program during September. This month is Childhood Cancer Awareness.
“What an opportunity to raise money with 100 percent raised going to cancer research,” she said.
The program was started by a 10-year-old cancer patient from Cleveland who wanted to cure cancer by playing kickball. Since the program started in 2009, Kick-It has raised $800,000 nationally, according to Gordon's website.
The program works with the Children's Oncology Group of which the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital in Portland and Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor are included. Therefore, it can have an impact on local children, she said.
Chretien has found a few players for her team. Most people say they haven't played since elementary school, she said. The game should be quite entertaining for spectators, she said.
“It's been many, many years since I've played kickball,” Peck said. His team consists of Farmington officers and family members.
Chretien is looking for 10 players but if more are interested, she'll work them in. The game will follow playground rules.
“It's casual. The goal is to raise a lot of money and have a lot of fun,” she said.
She'll even allow players to purchase a mulligan, a do-over, for $5 if a play doesn't go well.
There are no practices. Players meet at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 22 but she wants those interested, adults or youths, to contact her at 778-5129 by the middle of next week.
When Gordon first started racing, his crew chief's son had leukemia and later the owner of his car had cancer. Now the work done by his foundation is mostly for children and fighting childhood cancer, she said.
“I've been fortunate there have been no kids in my family but I've had family members with cancer. Seeing how difficult it is for an adult I can only imagine what it's like for a child,” she said.
Chretien has always loved children. She previously worked in daycare and now for Care and Comfort working with kids with special needs.
Peck said he also couldn't help but say yes.
“It's a great cause, matching funds for children with cancer,” he said. The department has traditionally raised funds for the Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
“We've been busy this last year but we do try to help,” he said. “This should be interesting."
Along with pledges, Chretien has received items from Gordon's foundation, shirts, hats and die-cast cars, for a silent auction. She meets with selectmen next week for permission to hold the auction on town property.
Donation jars are going up along with posters in local stores and she's seeking corporate sponsorship.
There's an opportunity to show support by writing a message on a Kick-It sign, have a photo taken with it and upload it to a Facebook page, she said.
One child victim wrote, "so I can be me again," she said.
More information and donations can be made directly to: http://www.kick-it.org/events/farmingtons-kicking-it.