My name is Donna Patterson and my family and I currently reside in the Dundee area. For the past five years I have been running the Challenger Division for Tri-Cities Little League. Challenger is a division of Little League that allows children with phyical and or mental challenges to play in an organized game of baseball. The ages range from 4 all the way to 22, as long as they are still in school. They play on the same fields using the same equipment as other Little League players. They all receive a uniform, snacks after each game and a trophy at the end of the year.
Better than any of that is the fans they have cheering for them, the high fives from their friends as they round the bases, and that very special buddy that is with them every step of the way at every game assisting them in anyway they need.
When the program was started at Tri-Cities five years ago there was not one member on the board that had a child with special needs. They just saw a need that needed to be filled.
Since that time I have been involved with running the Challenger division because I myself have a son with special needs and he has played in the division for five years now...the only five trophies he owns! My other son has been a buddy with the program for three years now. Tri-Cities Challenger division has also assisted Woodstock Little League and Jackie Robinson Little League in starting their own Challenger Divisions. We hosted the first Challenger Jamboree in 2012, and hoping to host another one in 2013...
Here is where I am looking for some assistance... We formed a District 13 Challenger team out of our three leagues that have Challenger programs (Tri-Cities, Bartlett and Woodstock). We were selected out of 100s of Challenger Divisions to participate in the Challenger Exhibition game at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. We have been doing fundraising as a District to help offset the cost of the trip and have been able to provide the Hotel for these families, which is huge in itself. I would like to do more for my kids and buddies as I know just how hard it is to raise a child with special needs and have money to take a vacation. Medications usually limit our vacation fund so we end up at grandma and papa's house for the weekend!
Every little bit will help these families to pay for gas, meals, incidentals, etc.
The following was taped by WGN and shows the kids all "practicing". Can you find my three boys?? Mike, Michael and Jordan are all there!
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