Rival Baseball Teams Raise Money for Vs. Cancer
A powerful fundraising force in CHCCS athletics has been building since 2015, initially through the dogged efforts of one Chapel Hill High School (CHHS) baseball player, Garrett Liebe. The momentum has now spread well beyond the impact of a player who graduated in 2017. This year’s CHHS Tigers, and the Wildcats of East Chapel Hill High School (ECHHS) are gearing up to play their annual rivalry baseball game, as they look to add to the impressive fund totals in recent years. The fundraising organization is Vs. Cancer, and the game will be played at CHHS on Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m.
As the first CHCCS baseball team to partner with Vs. Cancer, CHHS has brought in more than $65,000 to help fight pediatric cancer during the past four years, easily leading the way as the foundation’s top fundraising high school in the nation. Last year’s game raised over $27,000 in front of a standing room only crowd and won the conference championship for the Tigers. While the teams are rivals on the field, they are on the same team for this cause and hope to meet last year’s donations and excitement.
Attendance is $5, and children six and under, as well as any youth baseball player in uniform accompanied by an adult, will get in free. The first 20 Chapel Hill High School students to attend the game with their student identification will receive a free event t-shirt. Jersey Mike’s sandwiches and head shavings will be available to support the cause.
The Raleigh-based national nonprofit Vs. Cancer was founded by Chase Jones, a former UNC baseball player who was diagnosed with Stage IV brain cancer during his freshman year in 2006. Now more than 10 years into remission, Jones received his MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania last year. He serves on the board of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, the primary recipient of donations through Vs. Cancer.
Garrett Liebe was in fifth grade when he played in support of an earlier Jones fundraising organization. When he was a freshman at CHHS, Liebe first volunteered with Vs. Cancer, which set in motion the collaboration between his team and the nonprofit. Now Liebe plays baseball for Sewanee, the University of the South, and his brother Colin Liebe is co-captain of this year’s CHHS Tigers.
Bryan Tuck is the new head baseball coach at Chapel Hill High, and his team is currently second in the the national list of high school fundraisers for Vs. Cancer. Matt Russell coaches the baseball team at ECHHS, and his team’s efforts are chasing their rival with a current sixth place standing.
In a 2015 interview, Chase Jones said, “Athletes are often the most visible people in a community. Whether they’re a hometown hero or a professional baseball player, people will rally around them,” he said. “They can use that platform to help kids beat cancer.”