10th Annual Snowball Kickball Fundraiser
Photo 1: Carrie Forsythe, Allison Clark and Vince Forsythe.
Photo 2: Vince Forsythe, Brooke Schmader, Carrie Forsythe
Forsythe’s Kickball and Giving to Those in Need
On February 15, 2020 with a crowd of about three-hundred people, a little over $35,000 was raised at the 10th Annual Forsythe Snowball Kickball fundraiser. Impressively over $85,000 in the last three years. And it’s mostly people giving to those they have never met. Will Smith once said, “If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.” The Annual Snowball Kickball Fundraiser held by Vince and Carrie Forsythe exemplifies all that is good in the surrounding community. Each year hundreds of friends, strangers and kind hearted souls give of themselves to help those in need. The idea of Snowball Kickball manifested itself out of the idea of giving back. The Forsythe’s own experience with their own kids at a young age is a driving force for the local couple. The yearly fundraising event is a reminder of hardships they faced and that people can and do make a difference. Vince Forsythe who also happens to be the Mayor of St. Petersburg, spearheads the efforts of making sure that someone in need is taken care of. Together with his wife, Carrie they select someone in the community who might be going through a difficult experience. Together, they open up their home and manifest one of the greatest fundraising efforts of the year. This year’s recipients were Allison Clark of Emlenton and Brooke Schmader of Rimersburg. A portion of the fundraising also goes to the Clarion County Shriners each year. Allison Clark was diagnosed with Chiari I Malformation (brain is herniated down into the spinal canal) following a sports concussion in 2012. Her symptoms began to get worse throughout the years. Most recently Allison reached out to a Chiari specialist in New York City and was diagnosed with Craniocervical instability. Her skull was crushing her spine. In September of 2019 Allison proceeded with an Occipital-Cervical fusion (her skull was fused to her spine to C3 with rods and screws) in New York City. To date, Allison is currently still suffering with debilitating symptoms and is possibly facing a revision to her new fusion. Allison has been traveling to New York City frequently as well as to her neurologist in Pittsburgh once a week. Six years ago, when Brooke Schmader was 20 years of age, she was diagnosed with Epithelioid Sarcoma after a lump was found in her right foot. She has 3/4 of her foot amputated and it has been 6 years and the cancer has returned to her lungs. As of November 20, 2019 Brooke started chemo. She was told her type of cancer does not respond well to chemo but at this time they are trying to kill any molecular cancer cells floating in her body. Brooke’s cancer is very rare with very limited trials for EpitheliodSarcoma. Vince and Carrie Forsythe begin organizing and planning in early November with the fundraising kicking off each year at the Parker Polar Bear Plunge by selling various raffle tickets to advance the cause. The Annual Snowball Kickball event has actually “snowballed” into a one of kind event. “This event would not be what it is today without the kindness of both the local individual and business contributions”,stated Forsythe. In February, Otto’s Tavern holds a “Chili Cook Off” on Super Bowl Sunday and for the last three years, Jamie Sue of The Beer Garden has helped to make sure a benefit bingo helps to add to the numbers. Letters are also sent out each year in the mail requesting donations. The day of the event features a live auction of about thirty items. Over the last two year the live auction has rained in over $19,000. This year alone, thanks to the fine auctioning skills of the one and only H.Jack Buzard, the live auction pulled in $12,000 averaging out to $400 an item. This year there were over 120 items in the auction raning from gift cards, hotel stays, basket items, etc. The Forsythe’s would like to give a special thanks to the Hepler family, JSE Sports Gallery in the Cranberry Mall, Tim Stewart, Darryl Schiberl, Cullen and Rick McNany, Mike Chechak, Anthony Smith, Nancy Hindman and Jack Buzard for making the live auction such a success. In sickness and health, we all face challenges every day. In the words of Elisabeth Kuble-Ross, “The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” Snowball Kickball, is a local home spun fundraising event that embraces the words of Kuble-Ross. And yes they do play kickball, keep on kicking! Anyone who would like to donate to this year’s recipients may send to Vince Forsythe, Box 161, St. Petersburg, PA. 16054.