Old Timers plan 25th anniversary benefit game Sunday for 2 boys
Since 1985, the Franklin Township Old Timers and the Jim Thorpe Old Timers have played a benefit baseball game to help with the medical costs of someone in the community who has a serious health problem.
This year they plan to split the proceeds between two 13-year-old boys, Tristan Wentz and Nathan DeKorte, both of the Lehighton area, who both have serious health problems.
"We're celebrating our 25th year this year by helping two people," said Wayne Wentz, who helps organize the annual event.
Wentz said that the game will be played at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 23, at the Phifer Ice Dam Park field, 880 Main Road, Lehighton (Franklin Township). There will be refreshments available at the Franklin Township Little League stand, plus there will be a Chinese auction and bake sale. Also the Franklin Township Little League Senior Boys and Senior Girls will play a pre-benefit baseball game for the community's enjoyment.
Heading the Chinese auction is Donna Ahner, who said the Chinese auction and bake sale will be set up by 1 p.m. and donations for either the bake sake or Chinese auction will be accepted at noon.
Both boys faced treatments for cancer.
A few months ago sixth grader Tristan Wentz began getting headaches. He is the son of Nicole and David Semmel of Mahoning Township. He is a student at Lehighton Area Middle School.
His mother said that his pain was on and off. When he complained of the pain in his head, his mother said that she gave him Motrin which seemed to help.
But in a matter of days, his symptoms worsened and he began vomiting.
That is when his parents had Tristan examined in the emergency room, where a CT scan showed the mass in his brain.
The CT scan used a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of Tristan's brain. The CT scan showed detailed images of the malignant mass.
Young Tristan was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma by doctors at Children's Hospital.
Astrocytomas are glial cell tumors that are derived from connective tissue cells called astrocytes. These cells can be found anywhere in the brain or spinal cord. Tristan's tumor was at the top of his skull.
Since then he has had surgery, where about half of the tumor was removed. He also underwent chemotherapy and radiation.
Nathan is the son of Todd and Kathy (Becky) DeKorte of Forest Street, Towamensing Township.
His mother said that in November 2009 her son complained of back pain under his shoulder blades. After a whirlwind tour of various doctor's offices for three weeks, the family's chiropractor recommended an MRI, which revealed a tumor on his spinal cord. Nathan underwent surgery immediately and had radiation in Boston.
"He is doing great," said Mrs. DeKorte. "The surgery removed all of the cancer. The radiation was a precaution in case there was anything there they didn't know about."
Before Nathan was diagnosed with cancer, he experienced numbness in legs, which has since subsided.
"He's been cancer-free for the past four months," said Mrs. Beck.
Nathan is home-schooled.
The boys will arrive at the Phifer Ice Dam Park by fire truck.
Donations will be accepted at the field for the boys throughout the event.
Over the past 25 years, the Old Timers game has had a variety of players, including many Franklin Township Little League coaches and county officials.
Last year, the game was played for Shawn Miller of Bowmanstown.