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Live Like John Softball Tournament Hopes For Home Run At St. Rita

 John McNicholas, 15, played baseball at St. Rita High School before he died on Jan. 7, 2011. The fifth annual Live Like John Softball Tournament hopes to break the $100,000 mark in fundraising Saturday at St. Rita in Ashburn.
John McNicholas, 15, played baseball at St. Rita High School before he died on Jan. 7, 2011. The fifth annual Live Like John Softball Tournament hopes to break the $100,000 mark in fundraising Saturday at St. Rita in Ashburn.
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ASHBURN — Of all the ways to celebrate the life of the late John McNicholas, a softball tournament seems the most appropriate.

The fifth annual Live Like John Softball Tournament takes place from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday at St. Rita High School at 7740 S. Western Ave. in Ashburn.

McNicholas, 15, was a freshman ballplayer for the all-boys Catholic high school when he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He died just nine months later on Jan. 7, 2011.

John's parents, Ed and Amy McNicholas of Beverly started the John McNicholas Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation in the wake of their son's death. Also known as Live Like John, the charity aims to find better treatment options and ultimately cure brain cancer in children.

The foundation hosted a series of fundraisers and awareness raising events last month called Go Gray in May. Through these and other advocacy efforts, the foundation has become a powerful force in advocating and funding research on pediatric brain tumors.

The Live Like John Softball Tournament is its largest fundraising event of the year. Last year’s tournament raised more than $85,000. This year, the foundation has set a goal of breaking the $100,000 mark for the first time.

Howard Ludwig says the event is fun for the entire family:

Some 32 softball teams will compete in the tournament. Participants are high school age and older. All of the teams have been actively fundraising for the event for the last several months. Beverly Bank will also return as the tournament sponsor.

Organizers of the tournament promise a free day of family fun. The activities begin at 10 a.m. with opening remarks and the ceremonial first pitch of the tournament.

Besides softball, a wide variety of activities and games will also take place throughout the day. At the "kids corner," activities for children of all ages will be offered, including face painting, bounce houses, games and crafts. Food and beverages will be sold.

The event will also feature a prize wheel. Winners will have an opportunity to take home a VIP Foo Fighters Concert package, two tickets on Southwest Airlines, a Chicago Blackhawks package, Chicago White Sox Scout Seat package, Chicago Cubs Assurance Club Suite package, a Wisconsin Dells Getaway package, a Windy City Lake Shake Country Music Festival three-day pass and a Lollapaloooza three-day pass.

For more information on the tournament, please visit www.livelikejohn.org

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