Up North: Last pitch thrown at 9th year of Alzheimer awareness Wiffleball tournament

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Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects your memory, thinking, and behavior. An aliment that people around the world continue to raise awareness for, like here in the Northland through sporting events.

Last weekend the final ever pitch was thrown at an annual Alzheimer’s wiffle ball tournament, something that started nine years ago in Tom Johnson’s back yard.

“We were talking about doing a tournament and one of my buddies dad was in an Alzheimer’s care unit and he said let’s raise some money for Alzheimer’s. That’s how it started nine years ago and ever since then, it’s just rolled, rolled and gotten more popularity,” state Johnson.

While the popularity has grown so to unfortunately has Toms’ connection with the disease.

“My father passed away from Alzheimer’s back in 2008, then his brother, my uncle, was diagnosed and died from it. Now, my sister is in an Alzheimer’s care unit. All these people here have had some kind of connection to the disease. So, everyone is here for a real good cause, really good purpose and everything we raise goes directly to Alzheimer’s and it stays locally, which is cool,” Johnson added.

While the event was ultimately for a great cause, everyone in attendance was still competitive. With some participants feeling that they could have hit a few more balls over the green monster.

“Well, today none, yesterday one but it’s tough and it all depends on where I hit, the wind blowing, all that stuff. I learned that it’s just all in good fun. Plus, it’s for a great cause, Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects a lot of people. So, anything I can do, or we can do as a community or a group to help I’m more than happy to,” said participant Mike McDevitt.

The tournament featured 10 teams and countless other activities like sport memorabilia raffles, duck races for the kids, and a BBQ cookout for all to enjoy. A perfect book end to an outstanding tradition.

“To play this game in any other venue I don’t think can be the same. Every year we have done a little more and we put a lot of work into it and here we are. It was meant to be and is labor of love and a bunch of people helping out to make it what we got today,” Johnson concluded.