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Pelham's Recca Hosts Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser

PELHAM, N.Y. – Lifelong Pelham resident and new school board member Michael Recca is honoring the memory of his friend and raising funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation through the Second Annual StrikeOUT CF Big Bat Bopper Baseball Tournament on Saturday at Pelham Memorial High School.

Aaron Rossman, Recca's friend and classmate, passed away in 2010 from the lung disease. The Big Bat Bopper Baseball tourney was chosen to memorialize Rossman because it was his favorite activity in physical education class.

“It is unique to the community. It was invented here," said Recca. "... Every organization hosts softball, golf, and running events to raise money. This will be an opportunity to host an event that is one of its kind.”

Recca said he felt that the tournament was the perfect idea because “students and alumni could play a game that everyone loved and it would be a memorable fundraiser.”

Big Bat Bopper Baseball is a combination of baseball, kickball and cricket. Players use a cricket bat to hit a bouncing rubber ball and circle four bases, which are positioned in the corners of the gymnasium, twice before touching the pitcher's mound to score a run, according to the rules. Each 12 to 16-member team is given three outs and the games last 12 minutes.

The cost per team is $350, about $20 to $25 a person depending on how many team members there are, and high school students pay $15. The tournament was a hit last year as 23 teams comprising 325 athletes helped raise a total of $50,000, with the balnce coming from 500 people who donated to the cause, Recca said.

As of June 6, Recca had raised $23,000 in online contributions plus another $2,000 in checks, which will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He said the best part “is seeing so many members come out and support a cause.”

The Pelham Memorial graduate “absolutely” believes that “with continued research and money,” a cure can be found for cystic fibrosis. For the time being, he is glad to see the progress that has been made, including the development of a drug called Kalydeco.

“Kalydeco is the first drug to treat the underlying cause of CF,” said Recca. “In 1989, they discovered the CF gene, now they have a drug that is significantly improving lung function. Additionally, life expectancy has increased nearly three-fold and there are many more CF adults than in the past.”

The event starts at 9 a.m. in the Pelham Memorial auditorium, 575 Colonial Ave.

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