Fundraiser for athlete with cancer approaching

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- How do you strike out cancer? One Albany baseball player said he is determined to find out.

Trace Ferrell, 21, said he views his battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma as a "mental game" and with the support of his family and friends he will not let the disease define him.

"I think there is a big mental block with people who have cancer," said the 21-year-old Darton College student. "It helps not to obsess over it and have a positive attitude. I will get through this and the hardest part is getting through the treatments."

Donna Ferrell says since her son's diagnoses in April, he has continued to show great strength and determination.

"He is an incredible being," Donna said of her oldest son. "When he started chemotherapy treatment he didn't get a port because it wouldn't allow him to pitch (baseball) so his treatments are done through an IV."

Ferrell's love of the game was evident to his family when in April after undergoing surgery to remove a lymph node, the baseball pitcher was back on the road with his ball team less than 48 hours after having surgery.

"It's just something I have put my time into and I have worked hard at," said Ferrell of his love of baseball. "I've been playing since I was four-year-old and I'm still playing at a pretty high level for me even though I'm sick."

Donna said news of her son's illness came while Ferrell was attending Marion Military Institute (MMI) in Marion, Ala., where he excelled in academics, marching band and the MMI's Tigers baseball team.

"He had to leave Marion for financial reasons and for chemotherapy treatments," said Ferrell's mother. "He is ready to get on with his life and has since finished chemotherapy and now he has been receiving radiation treatments."

Tammy Hydrick, a family friend, said the family is struggling to pay the mounting hospital bills.

"The treatments for chemo cocktail is $17,000 each," she said. "We are trying to help Trace and his family with medical costs."

Hydrick, along with other individuals dubbed "Team Trace," are asking the public to participate in a fundraiser for Trace and his family to help mitigate the cost of treatment and travel.

According to organizers, individuals can purchase tickets for smoked turkeys and Boston butts that will prepared by Mike's Country Store for $25.

"We figured that it is close to Thanksgiving and people will be looking for turkeys and that it would be a good way to raise money," said Hydrick.

Those that purchase tickets for "The Trace Ferrell Cancer Fund" will be able to pick up their turkeys and Boston butts from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 20 at A-1 Auto Air in Lee County at 1104 U.S. 19 S.

Also on the 20th, organizers say they plan to have a yard sale will all proceeds benefiting the Ferrell family that will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.

"We've had a great response so far," said Hydrick. "We just want to make sure that the public knows about this cause and that any donation they can make would help a great deal."

Monetary donations for the family can also be made at Colony Bank.

"Every dollar counts and we are so grateful to those that are helping us with this," said Donna Ferrell.

The Ferrell family said supporters such as Team Trace, Moose Lodge, Mike's Country Store, Colony Bank, The Albany Herald and all the prayer warriors are helping to make the difference.

"It is really hard, as a parent, to watch your son go through something like this," said Donna. "He has always been incredibly strong and it took a while to sink in but now he is like, 'Let's get going and get this (cancer) out of me.'"

Ferrell said he appreciates the support he has gotten and said he is slowly on his way to getting better.

"I appreciate the support I'm getting from everyone," said the 21-year-old. "It's nice to see support from places you would never expect."

As far as cancer slowing down his fastball, Farrell said he is determined to not let that happen.

For more information about the fundraising efforts or to purchase tickets, Tammy Hydrick at (229) 344-5154.