Firefighter-paramedic organizes baseball benefit to help child with cancer

Firefighter-paramedic Katie Kline said she was shocked at the 180 community members who signed up to play baseball to raise money for Adrian Karuku

By Shannon Gallagher
The Enterprise

ABINGTON, Mass. — Adrian Karuku may be recovering from a difficult few months of surgeries, therapies, stem cell transplants and quarantines -- but that didn't stop the 6-year-old from cheering on his friends and family as they played ball in Abington Sunday.

"He actually not only got to come and see everybody that was there but to be able to really enjoy some of it, too," said Katie Kline of Abington, who organized the charity baseball tournament.

Over the summer, Adrian was diagnosed with stage four high risk neuroblastoma -- a rare form of cancer that affects young nerve cells. He was given a 60 percent chance of survival, doctors said.

The Abington community wanted to do its part to help the Karuku family.

So on Sunday, hundreds of local community members joined Adrian and his family for a baseball tournament at the Abington Beaver Brook Elementary School where Adrian goes to school to help raise money for the Karuku family and hopefully ease the burden of Adrian's mounting medical bills.

Kline, a firefighter and paramedic in the Abington Fire Department and treasurer of the firefighters' union, said she was blown away by the number of people that turned out to support Adrian and his family.

As many as 180 community members signed-up to play on 12 tournament teams, Kline said.

The Abington Police and Fire departments each fielded their own teams.

Beaver Brook Elementary School teachers and school administrators joined the tournament with their own team.

"Everyone had a great time," said Chris Hickey of Abington who played on one of the baseball teams. "This was just such a great turnout. Everyone came and it's for such a great cause -- an all around great day."

From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., more than 500 community members attended the tournament, Kline said.

Kids jumped in bounce houses, posed for photos in front of a photo booth and played games.

"It was a lot of fun," said Katie O'Brien of Abington. "It was a really great tournament and for a really great cause and the fact that the kids were able to come, I think, was a really big thing too."

Kline said 100 percent of the funds generated by the baseball tournament fundraiser will go directly to the Karuku family.

In addition to the financial assistance to the Karuku family, Kline said she was glad to see Sunday's event benefiting the Karukus and the community in positive ways.

"I think just having a community event like that, more than anything," Kline said, "just to see the support and people come and be there for you is, I think, what means the most to people."

Copyright 2017 The Enterprise

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