By Meg Ellis
KINGSTON, R.I. – Madi Lewis is all too familiar with the effect that ALS can have on diagnosed individuals and their families.
During her senior year of high school, Lewis' grandmother was diagnosed with ALS and passed away a few months later.
"It was really hard for my family to deal with," Lewis said. "I was the first grandchild and I was really close with my grandma. She was the center of our family."
In honor of her grandmother, Lewis is working to give back in a way that relates to the sport she loves. The Rhode Island softball sophomore is hosting a home run derby at the URI Softball Complex Saturday, Oct. 7 to raise money for the ALS Association.
"The whole idea came from me wanting to do something for other families who were struggling with ALS," Lewis said.
URI students, athletes and staff are invited to step up to the plate and participate in the derby, which will take place rain or shine on Saturday. Registration will begin at 12:30 p.m. and it is $5 to participate. Each batter will receive 10 outs and a maximum of 25 front-toss pitches to hit. Any swing that is not a home run will be an out and only balls that make it over the fence will count as home runs.
At the end of the derby, both a male and female winner will be announced.
According to the ALS Association's website, there is no cure for the disease nor is there a treatment that halts the symptoms. Lewis is hoping that her event will be able to help the association and their research efforts, in honor of her grandmother.
Lewis looks back fondly on the time she spent with her grandma while growing up. Her grandma loved to watch her play softball and Lewis thinks that the homerun derby is a special way to honor her passing.
Those interested in participating and helping the ALS Association are invited to come to the URI Softball Complex Saturday. Preregistration online also is encouraged.
For more information about the event, contact Lewis as firstname.lastname@example.org.