“ 'The best thing from the worst thing doesn’t erase the worst thing. It just makes the worst thing mean something.' Matt Hampel, father of Ryan Grace, sharing a quote that’s resonated with him in the wake of his girl’s death and her gift of life to others. The Hampel’s presented a donation to MTN following the Ryan Grace Memorial Baseball Tournament. #givehopesharelife We are blessed to know you and, by extension, your daughter."
Such a perfect picture of the image I have of her looking up at me when I would talk to her...
Today I spoke FOR her for the last time. This afternoon the last chapter on what I call the business / legal / insurance side of September 17, 2017 was completed. For those of you murmuring to yourself ‘STILL?!’...yes, still.
I have tried to be as transparent with all of this because I know I have so many people who have invested themselves or their resources into me and my family and I feel I owe it to you all to keep you informed. For the last time today I took the stand to talk about/discuss the nightmare I lived to tell about.
After all was over, I was able to hug the mother and brother of the dad from the other vehicle for the first time. I was also able to shed more tears than I ever have with a complete stranger when I hugged the mother of the 16 year old who was taken from their family.
To all of you who gave in some form or fashion over the last 2 years, thank you. Between food/gift cards to ease the burden on Heather, to financially, which quite literally allowed us to stay afloat, words will never do justice and I’ll never be able to hug you all enough!
While this chapter closes, the book never stops emotionally. I’m confident none of you have any idea what goes on in the mind of someone who has lost a child, and I pray none of you ever do. But I will share these points I remind myself daily: Don’t just survive, THRIVE. Be the bigger person. Don’t make permanent decisions on temporary feelings. Ask yourself if the juice is really worth the squeeze. Don’t sweat the small stuff...and it’s all small stuff. 💚
To steal a quote from the mother of an organ donor in a Sports Illustrated article: 'The best thing from the worst thing doesn't erase the worth thing; it just makes the worst thing mean something.'
For me, the opportunity to put together an event that brings people together and raise money/awareness for organ donation is my 'something.' When a defining moment comes along, you either define the moment...or the moment defines you.
I have been invited to present the funds raised from Ryan's tournament ($10,349.90) to Midwest Transplant Network on December 6th during their organizational meeting. I will be given the opportunity to talk about the little hero whom this is all for, and I'll be speaking about the tournament and the incredible folks who have helped me thru the entire process.
I share all this to say THANK YOU again to each and every one of you who contributed, donated, sacrificed, and/or allowed your child to be a part of the event. I look forward to the opportunity/challenge of doing this all again next year, and I hope your experience this year warrants your interest in participating again next year. 💜
I apologize this is coming out so late. I was waiting on a check from one of the food vendors and the order of T-shirts (and the invoice for them) was delayed slightly due to school starting. The place I order them thru was inundated with football and other back to school orders.
All those excuses aside I have a grand total. Full disclosure, I have held back $500 to help eliminate some of my out of pocket expenses for next year’s event.
All total, the amount we will be donating from this year will be $10,349.90!!! We did $10k, I didn’t think it was possible!
There are literally dozens of folks I owe a THANK YOU to, most notably Kathy Cain-Espeland for organizing and scheduling all my volunteers. To all my umpires, thank you for giving your time to me. Every single one of them gave at least part of their pay back to the cause, many of them working for free. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that gesture!
Lastly, to Heather Hampel: thank you for putting up with me. The frustration, excitement, joy, and exhaustion of all this adds up. The patience you show throughout is what helps me stay balanced. Love you!
If you ordered a shirt at the tournament, they came in today. I’ll be contacting you to meet up and get them to you in very short order! 💜💚
Stay tuned for the check presentation to Midwest Transplant!!
I do this for one reason: I am the only person to have a full recovery and, for all intents and purposes, walk away from the tragic events of September 17, 2017. If I sit back and only sling soda for the rest of my days, I have wasted an opportunity at life. I feel it is my duty to do something that gives back, and most importantly, honors a certain special guardian angel, Ms. 'Ryno' Ryan Grace. For those who didn't get the opportunity to meet her, it's your loss. She was the coolest and most full of life 3 year old. Now, and most importantly, she's a hero to me and her organ recipients.
I cannot do this without the help, assistance, advice, guidance, and everything in between I have received from some of the coaches, my volunteers, and most importantly, my now WIFE Heather Hampel. Thank you for putting up with me thru this process and for going down this journey with me for another year.
Now the guts of the tournament: putting together a tournament is expensive. I try my best to keep the expenses down, but at the end of the day, it all adds up. Event insurance is nothing to ignore (a big THANK YOU to Christ Hotchkiss for his help and donation in this area,) and umpires for roughly 50 games can run a couple thousand dollars.
Last year we donated just over $9,000, which, while incredible, had a couple factors that played to our benefit. I did not have to pay for Platte Purchase last year, which was a huge savings. Also, for those that don’t know, a very nice older gentlemen last year purchased a 50/50 raffle ticket and asked Ms. Kathy Cain-Espeland to put Ryan’s name on the ticket. As luck would have it, we were able to add $825 into the pot when we drew her first!
This year, the fields cost $1,600 and Ryan did not win the 50/50, making this year’s donation start at least $2,400 less. Couple those factors with a food truck who bailed on us early Saturday (and didn’t ever show back up Sunday as was promised) and the less than favorable weather Sunday morning slowed everything down.
With all that being said, I am very pleased to say this year’s total donation is going to be well OVER TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!! I can’t believe it! It’s an incredible accomplishment, and something I never envisioned possible when I started planning these events.
To all my volunteers, THANK YOU!! Keeping the entire front end of all this together without my worry helped me tremendously. To all my runners who had to get coolers, ice, and Gatorade and water to sell when the food truck fiasco occurred, you were a lifesaver! Also, my emergency grounds crew who assisted in getting the fields dry Sunday was an absolute game changer. THANK YOU!
A sneak peak into next year: I am currently in conversation with a facility already to host our event. Yes, it will be moving again, but hopefully to a permanent home that is much larger and gives us the ability to host every age group! Ideally we would double the number of teams!
Please continue to follow this page as we continue to build on our successes, work on our faults, and adjust this annual event!!
Make sure to stop by KC Cajun!!!! Their food is SOOOOO good!!!
And Kona is here as well! Send them some love!
We are off and running with a 2 hour delay!! No sprinkles are gonna keep us from baseball! Our 10:30 games (originally scheduled for 8:30) are rolling along!!
11u will NOT have a delay!!! They had a late start initially and we will keep them on schedule!!!!
A fantastic turnout today! I tried to turn the thermostat down, but to no avail. I’m currently on hold with Mother Nature; hopefully she takes my call before tomorrow.
Can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow!
O, and the 50/50 raffle: OVER $1,700 AS OF THIS EVENING! Get your tickets tomorrow!
This year’s event will be held Sat and Sun, August 10-11. It will be at Pleasant Valley Road Athletic Complex in the KC Northland. All proceeds will go to Midwest Transplant Network again this year. Ryan Grace was an organ donor, and bringing awareness to such a cause is the most important piece of the weekend.
-50/50 and prize raffle will be on site (and you can purchase tickets now for it) All credit cards accepted thru Square!
-T-shirts and racerbacks are available to purchase
-Food truck and snow cones on site both days
-Cowtown Mini Donuts available on Sunday!
-Midwest Transplant will be on site
-Admission is $5, under 8 is free
-Games start at 8:30 both days
Thank you for being a part of a wonderful event and bringing awareness to a great organization!! 💚
The calm before excitement! Keys in hand and ready to go! Please stop me and say hello as I run by this weekend! It means so much to ME (Matt) personally for everyone to commit their time, energy, and resources to all of this. Without all of you, none of this is possible. 💜💚💜💚
Get your raffle tickets for all the great prizes, including half the total pot! T-shirts and racerbacks will be on site to order!
Proceeds from ALL of these different pieces go to Midwest Transplant Network, who will be on site during the day Saturday!
Updates from the tournament organizer, Ryan's dad, Matt Hampel, and his amazing wife, Heather.