Fishin’ Galore, an annual event for patients and their families, features a day of fishing, crafts, games and food. This year, about 150 patients and their families attended - and along with the many volunteers - about 1,500 people were on hand to celebrate life and gain support from one another.
"We wanted to use the vessel of baseball to teach our kids a few life lessons...what it means to give of themselves, to give back and to do for others," said Chris Landry, assistant coach and dad. "We tell them that not everyone can do what they do. Attending school and playing baseball are things they may take for granted, but these same things could be a major undertaking for others. It is important to us as mentors to teach our kids more than just the game of baseball."
Landry, along with head coach Bruce Sarrazin and assistant coach Kell Rish, took the players to the event where the boys spent the day, about eight hours, helping set up games for the patients, cleaning, emptying trash from the dining and gaming area and volunteering wherever needed.
"Our boys rotated through each area during the day, and never once did they complain," said Landry. "The main focus was the interaction between the patients and the players."
Eventually, the players met a young boy from Zachary - Cole McDonald - a patient who receives treatment from St. Jude's, and the day hit closer to home.
"They learned just how blessed and how lucky they are to have their good health and their athletic abilities," Landry said.
It was very important to him and the other coaches that this learning experience be about the boys and what they did, what they learned, said Landry. After the event, each boy was asked to write a paragraph about their experience. Below are excerpts from their letters.
"The feeling I got when I was helping at St. Jude's felt so good. I want that feeling all the time," wrote Jayden Williams.
"I feel lucky to be doing things other kids can't. I hope we get to do more volunteering soon, I had a really good time," stated Noah Weston.
"I think I'm very lucky to do what I do," wrote Kyle Landry.
Easton Rish wrote: "With every good deed there is always good results, not only on the outside, but also on the inside."
"I have a huge opportunity to help people and to think about someone else. I felt good that evening to go home and say 'it wasn't about me'," Dylan Sarrazin said.
For more letters, please visit Zacharytoday.com and search "Legendz players get more'.
The team has plans to make the outing an annual event.