HAMDEN, Conn. (WNTH) — The Quinnipiac Bobcats softball team didn’t let the rain put a damper on their support of a great cause. After the annual City Series was rained out over the weekend, on Tuesday the Bobcats’ scrimmage with A.I.C. became their fundraising event for “Dingers for Danni.”
Danni Kemp is a 19-year-old Foran alum and currently a student athlete at Stony Brook University in Long Island. At Foran she had an incredible career, as she was named to the all-state team in 2015. Softball has been a lifelong passion for Danni, who spent her time under the summer sun on the diamond. This past July, she was hit in the head by a pitch. While she showed signs of having a possible concussion, an MRI at Yale New Haven Hospital revealed something else. Doctors found that Danni had an inoperable brain tumor in the pons region of her brain.
All four local college teams have shown their support for Danni, and have encouraged fans and supporters to tweet using the hashtag #Dingers4Danni or #DanniStrong as part of the campaign. On Tuesday, the Bobcats hosted Danni and her entire family for the scrimmage, and took donations all throughout the day.
While the original event would have featured all four of the local teams playing on Sunday, spirits were high on Tuesday as the Bobcats officially launched the campaign. “We’re looking for donors to pledge a certain amount of money for every home run that either QU, Yale, Southern Connecticut, or UNH hits this season,” said Quinnipiac junior Emily Czaja.
One of the unique aspects of the fundraiser has been the support of the local community who have put aside their rivalries to all work toward helping a fellow player in need. “It shows that we are bringing together a community especially because she’s from a high school so close in the area” Lexi Courtney told SportzEdge. “The softball community around here is really tight and closely knit and we just want to raise awareness and just want to support (Danni).”
Head coach Jill Karwoski hopes that the campaign will go national. She was thrilled to help when her players brought Danni’s cause to her attention.
“It touched them in a lot of unique ways because the softball community is pretty tight and small, so anytime something comes up in terms of adversity, we all want to come together. Danni is also the age of a lot of our players, so their is a unique connection there along with the local connections.”
It was quite the scene when Danni arrived at the QU softball field with her entire family. The entire team ran up to their fellow softball player to give her hugs and a present. On a picturesque fall day, both the team and Danni were all smiles as they talked about softball and life. Despite everything going on in her life, Danni’s smile never left throughout the day as her passion for life and the game she loves was clear as the blue sky overhead.
“I definitely don’t feel like I am going through this alone,” Danni said. “It’s just really humbling to have all this support and I am so grateful for it.”
If you would like to support this cause or would like to learn more, you can check out the Dingers for Danni gofundme page or the Quinnipiac softball Facebook page which will have updates all season long on Danni’s campaign.