The first Jackson-Reed Tournament championship softball game between Hoots Boys and Smackthat paused before the final inning Sunday at Bel Air Park in Weed for a presentation.
A $2,000 check was presented to Mark Butler of Dunsmuir to cover necessary repairs on the van he is using to drive his five year old son Jessie to UC Davis Children’s Center for cancer treatments.
Jessie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia shortly after his third birthday. Jessie will tell you himself that he has nine months of treatment left.
Bobby and Bridget Reed from Lake Shastina are continuing the annual Jimmy Jackson Softball tournament, which ended last year after 15 years. The Reed’s son, Kyle, 18, was diagnosed with the same type of leukemia that Jessie has. Kyle was diagnosed in February 2015 and has 12 months of treatment left.
Bridget said the community rallied around their family when Kyle was diagnosed, so they wanted to do something to give back. Bobby said during a phone interview that for the first Jackson-Reed tourney they wanted to donate the proceeds to someone with the same leukemia as Kyle’s.
They contacted Paula Cardoza with Make a Wish Foundation who put them in touch with the Butlers. The Reeds met Paula when Kyle was diagnosed.
Kyle, who played on the Smackthat team, said it was fun and the tourney means a lot. “Everybody came out to support us.”
The Jimmy Jackson tournament was started in 2002 by Nacho Escatel to raise college funds for Jimmy’s daughters Kara, Casey, and Kamryn and for Sacha Marino’s son Caleb. Kara said this year’s tournament championship game, played on Father’s Day, was the 15th anniversary of the day their father died.
Bridget said they have played in the Jimmy Jackson tournament since the beginning and became close friends with the Jackson girls. Bobby said he’s never missed a tournament. Even the one year Kyle was in the hospital, Kyle made sure his numbers were good enough so they could come home for the tournament.
Kara said they like that the tournament will continue as the Jackson-Reed. She said they were afraid it would end and they wouldn’t get to see the guys every year.
Bridget said they will continue to award the Jimmy Jackson trophy. Hoots Boys won this year’s trophy with a 12-11 win over Smackthat Sunday afternoon.
Bridget said the tourney is “just good ol’ fashioned softball fun.”
Eight local teams played. All-tourney honors went to Hoots Boys’ Kurt Lorenzini and Rob Mott and Smackthat’s Brandon Acord, Justin Gerding, and Clayton Morton, who came from Oklahoma to play.
An emotional Mark Butler said his van has electrical problems that have been difficult to diagnose. He said he’s put hundreds of miles on it driving to UC Davis for his son’s treatment. Initially they were driving there three times a week, but now it’s once a month. He said it’s been very expensive to have work done on the van.
Jessie, wise beyond his five years, explained how his port works and showed where it’s located on the right side of his chest. He said that is where he gets poked.
His dad explained that 20 minutes before arriving at UC Davis they pull off the road and he applies medicine to numb the skin over the port by the time they arrive. Before they finish saying “Bada bing, bada boom” the needle is inserted in the port to deliver Jessie’s chemo.
Jessie is also somewhat of a car expert and can name the makes of cars parked in the parking lot. His favorite is Dodge, because “they don’t break down,” he said.
The Jackson girls are now in college. The youngest, Kamryn, is 17 and just graduated from Yreka High School. She will be attending College of the Siskiyous and playing soccer.
Casey, 19, is also attending College of the Siskiyous.
Kara, 20, plans to attend cosmetology school in Redding with instructors DJ and Carinn Hambleton, who have been participating in the Jimmy Jackson tourney for years.
Tournament proceeds along with donations from Edgewood Interiors and AWM Construction raised the money to donate to the Butlers. Chico Rivera donated toys for Jessie.
The food booth and barbecue was provided by Ken, Angie and Tara Knight and John Gregory with South Siskiyou Knights.
Bobby said he thanks the Weed Recreation and Parks District for donating the softball field for the tournament.