This weekend, my incredible volleyball skills will be on display in Papillion. And by incredible I mean TERRIBLE. Softball was always my game; I love all sports but I could never do much more than the solid bump from the backfield, occasionally breaking out a trademark move I’ve called THE HAMMER. Basically clenching both hands together above my head and smashing the ball as hard as I can to protect myself, endlessly embarrassing my husband in the process.
Good thing that this time around, I’m playing for four AMAZING people where effort triumphs over talent and skill.
Meet Kyle and Melissa Frans, and their sweet boys Tanner and Kraig. You know their hands are full when they have to hand off the camera to take dual pictures so everyone is included! Missy is my husband’s cousin, but close enough to be a sister to him and sister-in-law to me. She spoke at our wedding, and is our Evan’s godmother. Kyle is funny, kind and welcoming to friend and stranger alike, and just an awesome all-around guy!
Kyle has also battled Crohn’s Disease for 15 years. Officially, Crohn’s is described as a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Simply put, Crohn’s is intense abdominal pain. Frequent hospital stays and surgeries. Inability to eat when or what you want.. often leading to weight fluctuation, diarrhea, bleeding, fatigue and other issues. This is a CHRONIC illness, it lasts for life. There is no standard treatment, and no cure.
Kyle, only in his early 30’s, has already made several trips to the Mayo Clinic and back. He’s undergone multiple surgeries. He’s faced countless trips to the ER. This couple has dealt with this challenge while working and taking care of two little boys. If you’ve ever gotten a big doctor’s bill in the mail, even WITH insurance, you know how quickly procedures can add up. Multiply that by the dozens, if not hundreds of tests, stays, and visits the Frans family has gone through.. and it’s hard to imagine what they are dealing with financially, let alone physically and emotionally.
THIS SATURDAY, their friends, loved ones, and more will join together to raise money to help and to show Missy and Kyle they are not alone. Organizer Joe Dolezal said it best on the event website: ‘Knowing Kyle and Melissa would, and do, go out of their way to help their friends, we’re going out of our way to help give them a little relief from all the costs that have been piling up over the years.’
CLICK HERE for more information about the CROHN’S SUCKS: FRANS FAMILY BENEFIT SAND VOLLEYBALL TOURNEY. $20 gets you at least four games of volleyball, a drink ticket, and a chance to bid on LOTS of great raffle items. Better yet, if you have a group of friends looking for a volleyball tournament.. or just a group of friends who want to hang out.. sign up your team! Visit the Facebook event link above or email FriendsofFrans@gmail.com. This will all take place SATURDAY MAY 30th at Sinnott’s Sand Bar in Papillion.
I’ve said before.. and posted right here on this blog.. I don’t know why things like Crohn’s happen to such good people. Not just Kyle, but my good friend and co-anchor Rob McCartney also suffers from this terrible disease. Rob often reaches out to other patients, especially kids, to compare stories about what they are going through, forming a support network in a club they never wanted to be part of. Nebraska native, now Phillies baseball player Jake Diekman went public with his battle with Ulcerative Colitis this year, promoting research through the sale of ‘Gut-It-Out’ t-shirts and gear nationwide. Guys like Jake, Rob and Kyle rise above their challenges; they fight, they stay positive, they inspire the rest of us to roll up our sleeves and do better.
This Saturday, I’ll be with my Team Paparazzi softball squad, as our team trades gloves and bats for sand and volleyballs to support our superstar catcher and friend Missy Frans and her family. I would LOVE to see hundreds of people there to support them! Regardless, I have a favor to ask of all of you who are reading this.. please learn more about Crohn’s. It’s a terrible, terrible disease. More awareness, means a bigger push for answers, meaning more fundraising and hopefully, bring us one step closer to finding a cure. CLICK HERE to learn more about Crohn’s Disease at the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America website. CLICK HERE to learn more about Jake’s story, and his work with the Gut-It-Out campaign.
And if you pray, please say a prayer for these guys, especially my friend Kyle. For a huge showing of support Saturday, for the financial boost the Frans family needs right now, and for a cure so one day this wonderful family of four can have a volleyball game for no other reason than to teach Kraig and Tanner THE HAMMER.