WARSAW — Ariadna Scheffler was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in June.
A fundraiser set for Saturday aims to help Aridana, 12, and her family as she battles the disease also known as AML. Warsaw Youth Baseball & Softball will bring the community together for the coed softball tournament.
The tournament features nine teams and the first game will start at 8 a.m. at Warsaw Village Park on Liberty Street. The games will continue until about 6 p.m.
“It’s a humbling experience and a very rewarding experience to see people show up and care when we’re in such a fast paced and busy world, for people to slow down and help those in need – that you might not even know,” said Kayla Bennett, the 12U head coach for both the boys & girls’ teams.
Bennett said she was talking to her husband and hoping that people would come together to support someone who may not be well-known in the community.
“It’s been so reassuring,” she said. “That’s the reason why I love Warsaw — the community and the people we’re surrounded with are great. It’s even more reassuring for me that we really help each other out. It’s not just well-known people. It’s anybody in need.”
Ariadna had gotten struck by pitches four or five times this past season and Bennett said she remembers joking with her about the ordeal. Despite Ariadna growing weary of the ball, she continued to play and try her best.
“I remember talking to the other two coaches, wishing she had started sooner,” Bennett said. “She picked it up very quickly, she’s a natural and really seemed to enjoy it.”
When Ariadna was struck in her shin while up to bat during the season’s last game, she ended up bruising and eventually spiking a fever which resulted in a trip to the doctor where she was then diagnosed with AML.
Bennett said that the tournament is to raise funds to alleviate financial stress for the Schefflers.
Besides softball, the tournament will include a 50/50 raffle, basket raffles, Buffalo Bills merchandise and two tickets raffled off. The concession stand will also be open selling food all day.
Fourteen different businesses and families in the area sponsored the tournament and 45 businesses donated toward the basket raffle. A second softball tournament happening in Oakfield on Saturday where the funds received will also be going to Ariadna and her family.
The Warsaw Fire department also conducted a boot drive and a chicken barbecue for Ariadna over the summer.
Ariadna turned 12 this past August and the fire department had a drive-by parade go past their house.
Ariadna is still in the hospital from her third round of chemotherapy and has her bone marrow transplant in October. She and her family will be staying in the Ronald McDonald house to stay closer to the hospital after the transplant.
Bennett said that she can see how the support from the community has touched Ariadna’s family.
“People are always wondering — are we accepted, are we valued, do people even care? Especially in a small town when you don’t have a big name. I can just tell from the interactions with her parents about how much it has meant to them ..,” Bennett said. “We hope everybody keeps praying for them and keeps showing up to support them through this hardship that no family should ever have to endure.”
There is a GoFundMe fundraiser online for those who want to help but can’t attend the tournament. It’s called “Support Aria’s Battle Against Childhood Leukemia” and can be found on the website.