Gardendale is about family, friends, and good neighbors. Calling Gardendale a city just doesn’t go deep enough.
At the heart of what makes Gardendale special is a sense of helping each other and giving back.
A few years ago, when one of Gardendale’s own was diagnosed with cancer, our community came together, not only to help her, but to honor her journey by also creating an event to raise money and give back to help fight a disease that has likely touched every family at some point.
This is what makes Gardendale special.
What began as a fundraising idea to help fight cancer and give back is now approaching year 8 and has raised $160,000 and growing. 100% of the money raised goes to the American Cancer Society.
We interviewed LaVonda Bailey, who helps lead the event, and asked her to tell us more about the 8th Annual Strike Out Cancer event.
Treye Hanner: Tell our readers the story behind the Strike Out Cancer event. How did it start and when did you know that it was successful enough to become an annual event?
LaVonda Bailey: Strike Out Cancer is a Gardendale original event that was created in 2014 to honor Christine Moore, a local cancer survivor. The first year it was a team event with Relay For Life raising $8K. When everyone in the community started changing their Facebook profiles to “Team Christine,” I asked questions and was introduced to Cindy Chapple.
In the past seven years we have raised over $160K for the American Cancer Society. We knew it was successful enough to become an annual event when the awesome North Jefferson community stepped to the plate and started batting home runs.
Treye Hanner: Tell us about what the event is centered around? What sports are involved?
LaVonda Bailey: Strike Out Cancer is an exhibition tournament for the North Jefferson youth baseball and softball teams.
Treye Hanner: How is money raised for the event? Where does the money go?
LaVonda Bailey: Money is raised for Strike Out Cancer by several means. First, is sponsorship. We have several levels of sponsorship that allows our local community to support this event. We also raise money by t-shirt sales, gate admission, concession stand donation, online donations, and vendor fees.
Treye Hanner: How have residents and the Gardendale business community embraced the event? What support have you received from the City of Gardendale?
LaVonda Bailey: The residents and business community of Gardendale (and surrounding areas) have been very supportive of our event. We couldn’t hold such a successful event without them and most importantly the Gardendale Park and Rec teams. Everyone in the community jumps in and that is why it is such a success.
Treye Hanner: How can people who would like to support the event, by donation or to volunteer, reach out to get involved?
LaVonda Bailey: People can support the event by online donations, sponsorship or attending the event in March. We are always looking for volunteers the day of the event as well. Donations and sponsorship can be made at strikeoutcancergardendale.org. All money is tax deductible. To volunteer contact LaVonda Bailey (205-936-6969) or Cindy Chapple (205-540-2427).