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Pelham's Recca Raises $112,000 for Cystic Fibrosis

PELHAM, N.Y. – Michael Recca has raised $112,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in memory of his friend, Aaron Rossman, who passed away in 2010 from the lung disease.

The lifelong Pelham resident raised the money through donations for the Second Annual Big Bat Bopper Baseball Tournament, which was held on June 9 .

“When we started the event we all thought it would be great if we could raise awareness and if we got to $50,000 over a two-year period we would have been thrilled,” said Recca.

Looking back on the tournaments, Recca said “it was never a goal to raise $110,000. I always thought we could raise $50,000 last year if everything broke the right way. I thought that was our top potential.”

However, a total of about 900 donors in 2011 and 2012 were able to surpass the mark.

The average donations were in the $50 to $150 range, Recca said, but he added that they get a lot of $5, $10 and $24 donations on what would have been Rossman’s 24th birthday. Recca, a new school board member, did receive “donations in the few thousand dollar range” as well.

He was joined in the 2012 tournament by 219 other athletes, who formed 16 teams. Last year’s tournament had 325 athletes and 23 teams. The cost per team was $350, or $20 to $25 a person, depending on how many members it had. High school students paid $15.

Big Bat Bopper Baseball, Rossman’s favorite sport in physical education class, is a combination of baseball, kickball and cricket. Players use a cricket bat to hit a bouncing rubber ball and circle four bases positioned in the corners of the gym twice before touching the pitcher's mound to score a run. Each 12- to 16-member team gets three outs and the games last 12 minutes.

He said he is certain that with continued research and money, a cure will be found for the disease that affects about 30,000 children and adults in the United States and 70,000 worldwide, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation .

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