THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The smiles from “Little” Zoe Feldman and “Big” Zoe Ballen as they sat playing in the dirt before a doubleheader at Hutton Field on Saturday morning were priceless. On a day when SCIAC softball games were set to take place, it was the best friends, a three-year-old cancer patient and a 12-year-old Helping Hands founder, who were the center of attention.
Cal Lutheran hosted Pomona-Pitzer as one of four sites on Saturday participating in a fundraiser for the Zoe to Zoe Strike Out Cancer Project. Softball Bingo was played and general donations were collected. Overall, five campuses sponsored events at softball games over the weekend and joined forces to raise $1,857, which will all be donated to the Feldman family of Agoura Hills.
After meeting both teams and throwing out ceremonial first pitches, Little Zoe with a little help from her father, Jeffrey, and Big Zoe firing a fast-pitch strike to CLU starting catcher Shannon Tinsley the teams converged in front of the plate for a photo opportunity as a united group.
The story started nearly a year ago when Little Zoe was diagnosed with sarcoma botryoides, a rare type of malignant tumor that appears in the muscle tissue attached to the bone. Only several hundred new cases are identified each year in the United States. Since her diagnosis she has endured 42 weeks of chemotherapy and multiple surgeries.
Throughout the entire process the motto of the family has been: We Got This! Along with the high spirits, the medical bills also grew to significant heights, forcing a number of fundraisers to be generated to aid the family. Because of those efforts, the Feldman family grew a special fan, friend and supporter.
Big Zoe, a 12-year-old pitcher was at a softball tournament where she saw the flyer about raising money for Little Zoe. While they had never met, Big Zoe was drawn to Little Zoe and decided to start raising money on her own. She began collecting donations for the Feldman family for each strikeout during her summer softball season and by June of 2012, the two Zoes had not only met, but had become friends.
Big Zoe has since started her own group – the Zoe to Zoe Helping Hands Project, which encourages others to do good deeds. Big Zoe has spoken to numerous groups, encouraging them to reach out to others. Both Zoes have had tremendous impacts on others.
This weekend was an example of the eight SCIAC softball programs coming together to reach out to the Feldman family and fighting cancer in the third annual Strike Out Cancer games.
Donations can still be made. For more information please contact Debby Day, head softball coach at Cal Lutheran, at firstname.lastname@example.org.