Remembering Chelsea: Community honors woman's legacy through softball

A softball tournament being played across four parks in Charlotte and Concord this weekend goes beyond trophies and runs scored.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A softball tournament being played across four parks in Charlotte and Concord over the weekend goes beyond trophies and runs scored.

It's a tribute to a young woman who wished every little girl could take the field like she did.

From the field to the game and the lessons learned, Chelsea Parker loved softball.

"Every time we would talk about it, she would get a glow in her eyes and a smile on her face," said her father Ray. "It was a real huge sports bond that we had."

Chelsea wanted every girl to experience the game like she did but unfortunately, she ran out of time. At just 23 years old, she died unexpectedly in 2013 due to a heart defect. Chelsea left behind a young son.

Ray and his wife turned to softball to keep her memory alive. The family started a foundation that helps girls who can't afford the sport to take the field.

"The kids, the families, the moms and dads who tell their kids 'no, we can't help you,' they don't have to do that anymore," Ray said.

The tournament this weekend is their biggest fundraiser.

And in just a few short years, this non-profit is already hitting a home run. Since 2015, it's already helped 30 girls with more than $13,000 to help the girls play ball.

"We were all in, all aboard and proud to be part of it," said Robin Phillips of Top Gun Sports.

Top Gun Sports, who built the local fields, didn't hesitate to help when the Parkers made their pitch.

"It's the world," Phillips said. "To see a little girl come out here and play and her parents not be able to help her financially... and Ray's able to do that."

More than 70 teams were out raising money this weekend, all to help girls just like them.

 

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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