Kicking out cancer.
That was the aim of the sixth annual Gold Ribbon Games Kickball Tournament held Sunday, April 10 at the Benbrook Baseball Complex.
The event was hosted by the Rutledge Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for research of sarcoma.
Sarcoma is a rare form of cancer that is mostly found in young adults.
Laura Rutledge started the Rutledge Foundation in 2011 after her daughter, Carley, was diagnosed with stage IV Ewing’s sarcoma. The Rutledge family was moved to action by the disturbing fact that no advancements had been made in sarcoma treatment in 30 years.
“We felt it was time for us to carry the torch,” said Rutledge. “Not just for our daughter, but for the next child that is diagnosed.
According to the Rutledge Foundation, 72,000 young adults are diagnosed with sarcoma each year and there had been no change in cure rates or treatment options in the 30 years prior to 2011.
“We need to find those innovative biotech companies that are willing to find alternative, less harmful ways of treating diseases like sarcoma,” said Rutledge.
While the foundation does focus on finding new treatment options for sarcoma specifically, their secondary goal is to meet the needs of all young adult cancer patients.
In order to reach this goal, the foundation has begun holding events like the kickball tournament last weekend, giving community members an opportunity to participate or donate in honor of the cause.
The tournament featured 30 teams whose registration fees went to the Rutledge Foundation and several other community sponsors that either made donations or provided services to help facilitate the event. Several Greek organizations from TCU participated
The event even featured a special co-chairman, TCU quarterback Bram Kohlhausen.
Kohlhausen and his sidekick, SuperFrog, were on hand for the event to mingle with fans and participants. A variety of memorabilia signed by Kohlhausen, including a TCU football helmet, was raffled off at the event.
“It was very important to me to give back by raising funds and awareness for young adult cancer,” said Kohlhausen.
Kohlhausen felt especially moved to work with the Rutledge Foundation after his father passed away from colon cancer in 2015.
The next step for the Rutledge Foundation is to try and get more college students involved, especially since the foundation is fighting diseases that affect that age group.
Grant Rutledge, a first-year student at TCU and board member of the Rutledge Foundation, says he hopes to get more people on campus involved in spreading awareness for young adult cancer.
“This year I started spreading the word to people I met through Greek life,” said Rutledge. “Next year, I want to keep building on that and expand awareness to as many people and groups on campus as I can.”
Both Laura and Grant Rutledge hope to start a TCU-oriented version of the Gold Ribbon Games and hope to participate in this year’s Frogs For The Cure campaign, which has recently changed to incorporate all types of cancer research.
The Rutledge Foundation’s next event will be a Young Adult Night at Globe Life Park June 12.