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“Striking out cancer” in double header at the Corn Crib

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NORMAL (HOI) -- It was much more than a ball game Friday night as community members gathered at the Corn Crib not only for America's pastime but also to raise money and awareness about another deadly disease.

The KB Strong Foundation was created to honor Kevin Brown, a beloved Washington Community High School coach who died a year ago after battling Glioblastoma, a rare and deadly form of brain cancer.

Friday night, others fighting that same disease came together to raise funds in hopes of one day winning their battle.

Their mission: strike out cancer.

Half of the ticket sales at Friday night's double header at the Corn Crib went to the KB Strong Foundation.

In Kevin Brown's memory, the group raises money for brain cancer research and for families going through the battle Jodi Brown knows all too well.

"If you need it to get a second opinion go do it," Jodi said, "if you need it to go get a trial go do it. If you need it to just take your family and go make memories do that too. So it feels really good to be able to do that."

The Washington Panthers were out in full force, including a teacher who once walked the hallways with Kevin Brown.

Former Spanish teacher Polly Fuller was diagnosed just a few weeks after her co-worker.

"It's terminal, so I never know when the next scan is going to show: that's it's come back, or that it's growing, and so that's always a fear in the back of my mind," Polly explained, "but I'm just so happy that I'm finally in a good place to where I can finally start to enjoy my life again, because it was so hard; because I had to let go of my passion and figure out what my second act would be. So I'm still trying to figure that out, but I at least feel like I'm headed in the right direction. "

Throwing out the first pitch was another glio patient, Earl Boitnott.

Earl, who is in the middle of his own battle with the disease, says everyone can take a note from Brown's book by living each day to the fullest.

"Leave it in His hands. Do the best that you can, treat people the best you can. It helps you out. It helps you up here and in here," Earl described, gesturing to his head and his heart, "so that's what I try to do."

As for the future, Jodi Brown says she will continue to use the KB Strong Foundation to fight for a cure.

"Kevin Brown, I think, is the strongest man I've ever known," she remembered, "if it gets him, you know, then we need to rally behind that. We need to make a difference. I lost my husband, I lost my best friend and that's not acceptable."

Friday night's finale brought an evening of live music from the Joe Stamm Band.

It was a fitting end to the night, Jodi said, because her husband loved live music.

To learn more about the KB Strong Foundation, click here.

Sheridan Swathwood

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