Kids have their faces painted and have a great time at the third annual slo-pitch tournament this past weekend. Seen here

Kids have their faces painted and have a great time at the third annual slo-pitch tournament this past weekend. Seen here

Family turns heartbreak into joy in daughter’s name

The tent in the midst of all the slo-pitch games last weekend was a flurry of activity as players came in to take a break...

The tent in the midst of all the slo-pitch games last weekend was a flurry of activity as players came in to take a break or visit with friends and family.

There were 26 teams battling it out in the ball diamonds on the edge of town, either wearing team colours or pink t-shirts that had the words “For Heaven’s Sake.”

“We started this tournament as a charity event for our daughter, Heaven Pearl, who was born sleeping on July 21, 2013,” said Desirae Perry.

Three years ago, when things didn’t go as well as Perry and her family had hoped, she said she felt the urge to do something for her stillborn daughter that would involve the community she would have been a part of.

Leaving behind her twin sister Malia and four big brothers – Holden, Mason, Slade and Bruin – Perry said that Malia and Heaven were born nine weeks earlier than expected in Red Deer.

“Malia spent 41 days in the NICU at the Red Deer Hospital, while I stayed at the Ronald McDonald House,” added Perry. “These two places were very comforting during this extremely hard time in our lives.”

To show their appreciation, Perry and her family wanted to make a donation and also chose to donate to a few local groups each year by hosting a slo-pitch tournament.

The first year Perry donated to the Stettler Hospital Foundation, Stettler Kinettes and Kinsmen, while in the second year they donated to Stettler Minor Baseball, Sharebear Playschool and the Stettler Gymnastics Club.

Besides the NICU at the Red Deer Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House, Perry chose the Stettler Public Library and the Stettler Skateboard Park Association as local recipients this year.

“This year’s tournament was again a success,” said Perry.

There were 26 teams that participated this year, with six more teams compared to last year’s 20 and the first year’s 10.

“Many of the teams are second and third year returnees,” said Perry.

There were eight local teams, some from the Red Deer area, a team from Medicine Hat and a team as far as Mackenzie, B.C.

“We also had a family team called ‘Heaven’s Heroes’ and had players from Mackenzie, Prince George and Fairmont, B.C.,” said Perry. “A slo-pitch tournament just seemed like the right way for us to raise money. My husband Cole and I both grew up on the ball field watching our parents play and we play regularly ourselves.”

There was also a silent auction held this year with a wide variety of donations from local businesses.

“There were a lot of volunteers too who donated their time, money and expertise to the event,” said Perry. “We’d like to send a huge thank you to all the people who has so generously donated. It’s greatly appreciated, especially in this difficult economic times.”