ELGIN, Okla. (TNN) - The baseball fields in Elgin were busy over the weekend for the Strikeout Cancer Tournament and Home Run Derby. Its a benefit that’s helping one resident with a rich baseball history.
“To say it’s overwhelming would be an understatement," said Gary Ezell, tournament beneficiary.
Gary Ezell is a long time Elgin resident. He was on the state championship baseball team in 1969, played collegiately, and even was drafted to the Phillies Organization. Ezell has used his baseball expertise to help ball players in Elgin for the last three decades.
“Gary himself if the man that will give you the shirt off his back," said Brandy Moreland, the benefit coordinator. "Like I said, he’s taken a lot of the kids in this community under his wing and he’s got a rich history of baseball. And with that he’ll just reach out and teach you how to hit, teach you how to pitch, how to catch, how to field.”
Last month Ezell was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma.
When his players found out, they and their families decided to host the benefit baseball tournament for Ezell.
“Couldn’t think of a better way to honor him and get the community to get together to come out and just let Gary know that he might have a fight ahead of him but he’s not fighting alone,” said Moreland.
People at the tournament and throughout the community made several donations over the weekend.
“Actually we kind of tallied up last night and it was about $6400,” said Moreland.
“The support that I’ve received, both mental, physical, emotionally, in the last month has been overwhelming," said Ezell. "You know, how do you repay somebody for what they’ve done for you for something like this?”
Ezell says he’ll go through treatment for the next sixth months, then he’ll be back and ready to go.
“You still see the good in people come out in something like this," said Ezell. "It kind of restores your faith in humanity. I’m just very very fortunate that they feel the way they do about me and hopefully once I get through this I can continue to give back like we have for the last 32 years.”