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Batting for Rylee Lou

A diagnosis can change a life forever; but the Otsego Varsity Softball team is hoping it will change several lives with a new focus for the annual Bulldog Invitational.

Rylee Lou Just over a year ago, Varsity Softball Coach and Middle School teacher Jake Knash’s youngest daughter, Rylee, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It was a diagnosis that has forever changed the lives of everyone in his family. It was a difficult diagnosis, since there is constant monitoring to be done and treatments to administer. In the beginning, they were doing 150 finger pricks and 80 insulin shots a week. That struggle made them want to reach out, “It was just living with it day to day and watching the struggle that my daughter goes through,” Knash says.

He and his family put others and service first in their lives, “We (he and his wife) were trying to think of a way for our kids to understand that this life is about helping other people,” he says, “This gave us a way.”

"This" is a new focus for the annual Bulldog Invitational Softball tournament that takes place at Memorial Park in April. It is now the Rylee Lou Charity Softball Tournament. The team is working on several fundraising aspects of the weekend including business sponsorships, t-shirt sales, a 50/50 raffle, and more all to raise money for the newly formed Rylee Lou Charity.

The money raised will be used to send local children with Type 1 Diabetes to a special camp just for those kids in Fenton, MI, called Camp Midicha. The cost for the camp is $750 per child.

“Kids want to have play dates and sleepovers, and we just can’t,” Knash explains since there is 24 hour observation that must happen with his daughter, “It’s constant management. You’re up monitoring it.” With this camp, that overnight worry would disappear as there are doctors and nurses on staff to do that for the children. The kids at the camp would get that camp experience and be with other children who understand what they’re going through. Knash says when Rylee gets older this is a camp they’ll have her attend.

The goal of the tournament is to send local children to this camp; there are several in the Otsego school district and many more in the area who are living with Type 1 Diabetes, “It’s a great way to get our community involved with something that is local.”
Otsego softball team  
Otsego Varsity Softball Team
Author: Holly McCaw, Otsego Oublic Schools