GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis police organized a dodgeball benefit at the Elizabeth Chapel Church gymnasium Saturday for a local boy diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year.
As part of the third annual dodgeball tournament, officers decided to donate the proceeds of the tournament to the cause of Holdyn Keefer.
According to information previously gathered by Ohio Valley Publishing, Keefer was diagnosed with leukemia in January earlier this year. A variety of community events have organized since the announcement in hopes of aiding the family with costs of treatment. A spaghetti dinner was held in mid-March as well as a kickball tournament and a bingo night. Dinners have been held, rubber bracelets sold and a “snow angel” challenge enacted to donate proceeds to Keefer’s treatment.
Holdyn Keefer is the 5-year-old son of Travis and Sarah Keefer.
According to Shallon Schuldt, a probation officer with Gallipolis Municipal Court and a Gallipolis police officer, the tournament brought in roughly 20 teams this year from previous year’s 10. The first year there were six teams. More than $2,000 was raised toward Keefer’s treatment. Each year the benefit is conducted for a child. The previous year, the benefit was held for a young woman with a brain tumor. Businesses donated to the cause, community members partook in the tournament as well as several local police departments. A team from Gallia Academy Middle School participated as well as three teams from Gallia Crossfit. Teams had matching shirts.
“We wanted to come up with something different,” said Schuldt. “A lot of (organizations) have baseball or softball tournaments. A lot of people do 5Ks (kilometer runs). We wanted to do something a little different and still have fun and take you back to your childhood.”
There were six players to a team, with a maximum of eight. Only six could be on the floor at a time. Individuals took time tossing balls at their opponents. Those hit with a ball were out. If a player caught a ball, the person who threw it was out. A person who caught a ball was also able to bring a fellow teammate back to the floor. Rounds lasted three minutes. If players were still on the floor at the time of the buzzer, those with the most players standing won. The tournament was double elimination.
If anyone would like to make a donation to the family, a special account for Keefer and his family has been set up at Ohio Valley Bank.
Leukemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue. It often holds back the body’s ability to fight infection.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.