A sea of pink: Thornleigh Baseball Club step up to the plate for Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre

Prof. Paul Harnett (Director of Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Westmead), Josh McKewin, Gary McKewin and Ash Harrigan (President Thornleigh Baseball at the CPMCC

More than 250 players and spectators from the Thornleigh Baseball Club have rallied together to show their appreciation to the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre in Westmead.

The “Liz McKewin Pink Day” was founded in 2010 to honour the late mum of two, who lost her battle to cancer, and this year the club raised a staggering $6,736 dollars for the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre at the annual fundraising event.

As they have done for the past 11 years, players switched their regular blue jerseys and hat for pink in memory of Liz in February.

President of Thornleigh Baseball Ash Harrigan proudly presented the cheque to staff at the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre this week.

“We are honoured to support such a great cause. I am sure we will continue this for many years to come!” Ash said.

Anne Caboche (Operations Manager, Cancer Services), Melanie Rabbets (CNC Care Coordinator Thoracic Oncology), Clin A/Prof Verity Ahern (Director Radiation Oncology), Dianne Head (CNC Oncology), Josh McKewin, Gary McKewin and Ash Harrigan (President Thornleigh Baseball / A Grade Coach and player)

Liz, her husband and her sons, were heavily involved in the baseball club, dedicating countless Saturday afternoons to ensure the running of local competitions went smoothly.

Gary McKewin, Liz’s husband and former president of the baseball club, fondly recalls Liz’s warm and generous spirit, saying she never missed an opportunity to make someone feel special.

“She was like a mother to so many of the boys down there…” he said.

“She always put other people’s needs before hers.”

“Liz could always be found scoring, running the canteen, or just helping out around the oval.”

Liz was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and received ongoing treatment at the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre.

The club launched the annual fundraiser as they wanted to honour the place that treated Liz so well and ensured she was in the best possible care in her last months.

Director of the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre Professor Paul Harnett is grateful for the generosity of the McKewin family and the wider Thornleigh Baseball Club community.

“The money that we are gifted from the baseball club goes directly into patient comfort and support,” Paul said.

“Over the years, we have upgraded patient chairs in the day suite, waiting rooms and quiet spaces.

“The club has chosen to donate the proceeds of last year’s event to the Geraldine Fund, an emergency funding for cancer patients in financial distress

Although taken too soon, Liz’s illness never stopped her from attending games and being her two sons’ number one fan.

“She never missed a game,” son Josh recalled.

“Even when she was sick she made it to as many games as possible. I loved looking over and seeing her cheering all the boys on.”

Josh and Gary McKewin visit the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre

The 2021 event was live streamed due to COVID-19 restrictions but it didn’t stop the baseball club from going all-out in Liz’s memory.

Raffle tickets were sold, live commentary streamed, and a GoFundMe page was set up to ensure everyone could still enjoy the big game and fundraiser event.

Committee member Amanda Long said she is constantly blown away by the support.

“I am proud that we can give back to an organisation that gave so much to Liz and her family,” Amanda said.

Since beginning their annual event, Thornleigh Baseball Club has raised over $43,000 for the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre in Westmead. All funds have gone towards improving the patient experience in the cancer centre.

For more information about the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre, visit here.