SANTA CLARA — Public safety teams from police, fire, EMS and 911 communications, along with community teams and supporters gathered at Archie H. Gubler Park in Santa Clara Friday afternoon to participate in the third annual “Kickball with the Cops” fundraising event.
Organized by the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department, the event raises funds for a person or persons in the community who are affected by traumatic injuries or those who are in need.
This year’s event was organized to benefit 16-year-old McKenzie Dillon and her family. Dillon, a student at Tuacahn High School and the daughter of Lisa Bundy who works as the justice court clerk for Santa Clara City, has a rare form of cancer known as malignant paraganglioma.
Paraganglioma is an endocrine tumor located on the carotid artery and it is noncancerous. After Dillon’s tumor was taken out, the doctor’s told her the tumors had spread to her lymph nodes which made her paraganglioma malignant, a previous St. George News report said.
Dillon is no stranger to cancer. She was diagnosed with leukemia on April 4, 2006. She was 4 years old at the time and underwent treatment until June 19, 2008, Bundy said.
Bundy, a single mother of five children, said she was going through her divorce at the same time as Dillon’s bout with leukemia.
“It’s hard, not easy, but we’ve had a lot of support,” Bundy said of Dillon’s diagnosis and treatment for malignant paraganglioma. “I’m just really, really grateful for everything everyone has done. It means a lot right now just that people care.”
When they first heard that the tumor was malignant, Dillon was told she would have to undergo 30 rounds of radiation therapy. She has finished 28 rounds and should be completed with the treatment Tuesday, Bundy said.
Friday’s “Kickball with the Cops” event saw a large amount community support from different public safety entities as well as city and public organizations who fielded teams.
Each team paid an entry fee to participate, with the proceeds going to Dillon and her family.
At the time of the event, almost $4,000 had been raised, said Santa Clara-Ivins Police Chief Bob Flowers.
Attendees also signed a get-well card for Dillon which was full of messages of hope.
“It’s really a cool thing,” Flowers said. “It’s amazing how people will come together.”
Teams representing the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department, Santa Clara-Ivins Fire & Rescue, the Hurricane Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, emergency dispatchers, Santa Clara City, Troy’s Custom Body & Paint shop and Vista charter school faced off against each other in games featuring a modified six innings of play and a double elimination bracket.
The competition between the teams was at times fierce – Flowers jokingly said that the games would feature a lot of injuries because of the competitive nature of the players but that with the amount of emergency personnel present, they were prepared.
Though Flowers was joking when he said it, Santa Clara-Ivins Police officer Randy Hancey said a member of the Santa Clara City team did sustain a leg injury during play.
The overall winner of the kickball tournament was the team from Troy’s Custom Body & Paint shop in Ivins. Hancey said the team was undefeated throughout play.
Though the rivalries were tough, the most important takeaway was that the event was full of support for a great cause.
“This is a really caring area and people are always willing to come out and support,” Santa Clara-Ivins Fire Chief Dan Nelson said. “And I just feel it an honor to serve the people who come out and help others.”
Nelson said that his heart goes out to Dillon and hopes she pulls through this cancer well.
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