Home Run Derby belts it out of the park

By: 
Patrick Fisher, The New Prague Times
The Ruhland family, dad, Jake, daughters Sylvia and Noelle and mom, Lindsey, were overwhelmed
and humbled by the turnout at the Home Run Derby at Union Hill Ballpark the evening of Saturday, June 23. More than 380 people attended the fundraiser, which is to help the family with medical bills for Sylvia. (Patrick Fisher Photo)

Saturday, June 23, was one of those great evenings for slamming homers. While the Home Run Derby provided that, the more than 380 people that attended the fundraiser hosted by Home Town Bats, provided an experience that the Ruhland family of Minneapolis, and others, won’t soon forget.

"It’s overwhelming," said Jake Ruhland, a graduate of Montgomery-Lonsdale High School.

"And humbling," chimed in his wife, Lindsey.

The parents of 6-year-old Sylvia, the derby was to raise funds to help the family with medical expenses for Sylvia. She was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, which is a cancerous tumor in the brain. On April 16, Sylvia underwent her first brain surgery at Children’s Hospital and Clinics - Minneapolis. A second surgery was performed two days later to remove the tumor, and a third surgery was performed on April 26 to put in a permanent shunt to relieve pressure in her brain. Her surgeon was able to remove all of the tumor and there are no signs of cancer in her spine or spinal fluid. Sylvia is in the midst of six weeks (30 rounds) of proton radiation at Mayo Clinic, which will be followed by four rounds of chemotherapy. She’s also going through physical and occupational rehab and speech therapy. She temporarily lost her ability to talk.

"Then three to four weeks ago it was as if someone flipped a switch," said Lindsey. Sylvia began talking again. Lindsey said Sylvia’s speech is slower. "She puts a lot of effort into it and sounds younger, but it’s awesome that she’s talking again," said Lindsey.

Sylvia has also lost her hair due to her treatments, but she has more than 30 hats to wear now. She was sporting her favorite one the night of the derby, a red, white and blue one with the Wonder Woman emblem on it. Her next favorite hats are ones featuring the Disney princesses Anna, Elsa and Rapunzel.

Sylvia stood near her sister Noelle as she had a design painted on her hand. Sylvia also got a design, but decided it needed sparkles on it. "They love face painting. They’re a little mad when they have to wash it off," said Lindsey about her daughters.

There were 11 batters from the Dakota-Rice-Scott League and other leagues aiming for homers in the stadium. The 11 sluggers brought in more than 100 sponsors. Ted Nytes organizer of the event noted at one point during the evening.....

To see more on this story pick up the June 28, 2018 print edition of The New Prague Times. 

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