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Saturday June 25th

Chapel Hill High senior organizes fundraiser baseball game versus cancer

<p>Chapel Hill High School baseball players (from left) Jackson Pettee, Garrett Liebe, and Tyler Hansen planned a fundraiser to raise money for VS Cancer.</p>
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Chapel Hill High School baseball players (from left) Jackson Pettee, Garrett Liebe, and Tyler Hansen planned a fundraiser to raise money for VS Cancer.

Chapel Hill High School’s varsity baseball team will face off against rival East Chapel Hill High School at 7 p.m. Wednesday to raise money for cancer research.  

Founded four years ago by UNC graduate Chase Jones, the Vs. Cancer foundation is a nonprofit organization that has worked with around 250 teams and more than 40,000 kids in 93 different hospitals. 

Half of the money raised for the game will be donated to local hospitals for children’s cancer and the other half goes toward national research for cancer. 

Associate Campaign Director Brant Masters has been a part of Vs. Cancer ever since he played baseball for Furman University — one of Vs. Cancer’s first participating teams — before joining the foundation in 2015. 

“Vs. Cancer is dedicated to saving kids’ lives, and we do that by empowering athletes to use their platform to make a difference and to make a difference for kids specifically battling cancer,” Masters said. “And I think that what it means for me to work for Vs. Cancer is to help kids across the country — to give them the chance to feel like kids again and to empower athletes to make that difference too.”

The fundraiser game at Chapel Hill High started at the school because of Garrett Liebe, a Chapel Hill High School senior and baseball team member. 

Liebe had the idea to begin working with Vs. Cancer two years ago during his sophomore season and each year since, they have raised more money.

Liebe’s coach, Lee Land, said the team raised $7,000 the first year and $12,000 in 2016. They've already raised more than $10,000 this year as they work toward their goal of $15,000 by the end of the game. 

“We’re going to be over $30,000 in three years, and I think that’s something to be proud of as a group," Land said. “As a coach or a player, it's cool to be a part of anything that is for a good cause. Anything that can be a common goal between a group of guys, I think, is very rewarding when you achieve it. It’s been something that our boys have really grown attached to over the last three years, and I imagine that we will continue to do it in the years to come.”

This is the first year the game is against Chapel Hill High’s town rival, East Chapel Hill High. Liebe said he thinks the rivalry will drive more fundraising and the increased competition will help them raise more money. 

Liebe has been doing fundraisers with Jones, the founder of Vs. Cancer, since he was 10 years old and he said he's grateful for what he's accomplished. 

“It is something every day that I am reminded of — just waking up and being healthy is something I am thankful for each and every day,” Liebe said. “I have had friends in elementary school that suffered with cancer at a young age and the struggles to go through all of that, and to see what they had to go through seemed like such a burden and their families were struggling from it, as well. So, for me, it’s an opportunity to give back to them and help those families that are having a hard time.”

Land credited the success of the fundraiser every year to Liebe.

“He’s instrumental in the success of this because he sets it all up and he communicates amongst the JV and varsity teams,” Land said. “He’s one heck of a leader. He’s a team-first guy and what’s best for anyone other than himself and in this case he’s got Vs. Cancer on his mind, so we’re doing something good for them.”



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