10-year-old ball player hopes to knock cancer ‘out of the park’

Members of the softball community got together to help the family of a 10-year-old player who is in hospital fighting a rare form of cancer.

Katelynn Bartlett is in Children's Hospital

A Langley girl’s softball family is determined to do everything they can to help the talented 10-year-old knock cancer right out of the park.

North Langley Softball Devils 10-year-olds went into provincials with heavy hearts, missing one of their key players.

Katelynn Bartlett, 10, loves playing softball, alongside her twin sister Allyson. Currently, the Shortreed Elementary student is in a fight for her life battling stage four cancer at B.C. Children’s Hospital.

In early April, Katelynn complained of back pain. Since she plays competitive softball and is very active, her parents Carrie and Matt thought it may be a pulled muscle.

But the pain became worse, sending her to the ER two weeks later. By the May long weekend, Katelynn was in Children’s and her parents were given the devastating news that their daughter had stage four Rhabdomyosaaroma, a rare childhood cancer. That was six weeks ago, and the Bartlett family’s world was turned upside down.

“We were told she would require extreme chemo treatment for at least a year and may require a bone marrow transplant,” said her dad Matt.

Her ball family, North Langley Softball, was determined to help and did just that on Father’s Day.

“I was hoping to raise about $1,000 for the family but we ended up making close to $12,000,” said NL Royals coach Steve Stefanyk, who put together the fundraising day.

Girls softball teams ages 9 to 13 showed up with their families, friends and coaches  to support Katelynn at the all-day tournament that saw mixed-ages play 45-minute games at Dorothy Peacock.

There were coaches from Abbotsford and Aldergrove, Langley Xtreme players and members of Katelynn’s sister’s team, Surrey Storm.

Krysten, Katelynn’s 14-year-old  sister, was there and visibly moved by the show of support for her sister, said Anita van Weerden, who also helped organize the event.

Surrey Storm, a rep team, ran the 50/50 for the day, which raised $800.

Other older players ran a lollipop stand with ‘cancer sucks’ posted on the suckers.

Local businesses donated gift bags and there was an auction.

“It blew my mind how many people came together to support Katelynn. It was really emotional. The park was packed,” said Stefanyk.

Matt was able to be at his daughter Allyson’s game against the Royals on the Monday. Stefanyk was able to present the cheque to him there.

“Honestly, it is the least we could do. I have an 11-year-old daughter myself and really, this fundraiser was what any person would do when they find out a 10-year-old girl has cancer.”

Matt said Katelynn’s oncologist is very optimistic, saying she is already showing signs of major improvement. But she’s been in terrible pain of late. The extreme chemo they put her on caused pancreatitis.

“The road ahead will be long and hard with plenty of ups and downs,” said Matt. “But we will be here alongside Katelynn helping her win this fight.”

Matt and Carrie will not go back to work for some time, due to the need to stay with her in hospital.Their bills don’t go away, though. A trust account has been set up in Matt Bartlett’s name at TD Canada Trust, account #9193-6102301.

Katelynn also has an older brother, 18, besides her two sisters.

“We know she will win this, she is a fighter and is very strong and along with the unbelievable support from the community and family she will succeed,” her father said.

“Carrie and I would like to say people like Steve, North Langley Softball and Surrey Storm (Krysten’s softball association) have really restored our faith in people, and makes our whole family  realize they are still a lot of good people out there.”

 

 

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