L-R: Sarah Weisenstein, Austin Weisenstein, Dallas Weisenstein, Vince Forsythe and Carrie Forsythe at the 11th Annual Snowball Kickball Fundraiser.
It has happened every year for the past ten years. This year, it almost never happened. As the world shutdown in 2020 many looked for a glimmer of hope in 2021. For two local families, Wesley Forsythe of St. Petersburg and ten month old Dallas Weisenstein of Chicora that hope arrived with the outpouring of support at the 11th Annual Forsythe Snowball Kickball Fundraiser held by Vince and Carrie Forsythe of St. Petersburg.
Impactful would be one word to describe the overall event. Over the last four years alone the event has raised close to $120,000 and has lessened the burden for those in need at a time in need. Part of the proceeds is also given to the Clarion County Shriners.
Stronger than Covid, this year the Forsythe fundraiser netted close to $34,000. A phenomenal feat considering the circumstances everyone faced in 2020.
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 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, ten month old Dallas Weisenstein of Chicora and Wesley Forsythe of St. Petersburg continue to fight their way to recovery. Thanks to the community support their recovery will be a lot more manageable and little less worrisome.
For Dallas and his family it has been a ten month battle with Hirschsprungs disease. Dallas was diagnosed when he was just one month old and had a much needed surgery at 3 months. Hirschsprungs disease involves missing nerve cells in the muscles of part or all of the large intestine.
On November 21, 2020 Wesley became ill with the corona virus. At 33 years of age, he was expected to make a full recovery. On December 9, 2020 he had a massive stroke. The virus had caused blood clots in his carotid artery.
As a result of the stroke, he was unable to move the left side of his body. The virus also attacked his heart. And at one point it was only pumping at 25-30%.
Wesley spent one week at Hamot Hospital Stroke Center, and 3 weeks at Health South Rehabilitation Hospital in Erie. In order to live at home, he has to purchase extensive medical equipment and medication. It also requires the building of a wheelchair ramp, to enable him to get in and out of the house. Thanks to the generosity of the community, the ramp was recently completed and labor donated by Matassa Contracting.
The Forsythe’s would like to thank the many people who contributed to make the event a success. The $1,000 cash raffle was sponsored by the Allegheny Grille, Advantage Whitetails, Levi’s Lawn care and Brody Irwin who donated the $1,000 for the giveaway.
A special thanks also goes to the following; The Pines Inn, Otto’s Tavern, Parker VFW, Hepler’s Meats, JSE Sports Gallery, Nancy Hindman, Burford & Henry, Terra Works Inc., M&B Concrete and Rick and Cullen McNany for the custom made tailgate swings.
A great big thank you to H. Jack Buzard for lending his auctioning skills to help raise money in the crowd favorite “live auction”.