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CBA Lenten Drive supports Challengers ‘Field of Dreams’ project

This year’s annual CBA Lenten Drive will help raise monies for the Syracuse Challenger’s Baseball Field of Dreams Project. Pictured are Parker Wall, a member of the Syracuse Challenger’s Baseball program and senior Alessandra Carno, of Liverpool.

This year’s annual CBA Lenten Drive will help raise monies for the Syracuse Challenger’s Baseball Field of Dreams Project. Pictured are Parker Wall, a member of the Syracuse Challenger’s Baseball program and senior Alessandra Carno, of Liverpool. Judy Salamone

— Junior Tom Benz didn’t have use of his right arm.

“It affected me in more ways than I thought it would,” Benz remarked. “It took more focus and energy. People looked at me differently. I was the kid with one arm.”

Additional CBA students shared what they thought their lives would be if they had a handicap that affected their extracurricular activities.

“Music is magic in my life,” revealed senior vocalist Sam Lim. “Without it, I would be lost. If I couldn’t sing, I would be missing out on so much.”

Added senior Erica Zimmerman,“I spend so much of my time dancing, I don’t know how I would live without it if I had a disability.”

Senior Alessandra Carno then introduced Parker Wall, a member of the Syracuse Challenger Baseball program. Carno befriended the seven-year-old at the Strike ‘N Spare Bowling Alley.

“Each week I would see Parker bowling and realized there were endless possibilities for anyone with a disability,” Carno said. “Parker is my best friend and my role model.”

Senior baseball players Tim Pierret and Mike Trasolini then presented Parker with a CBA baseball cap.

Sophomore Brendan Carman shared his personal experiences with the Syracuse Challenger Baseball program. His brother has multiple handicaps.

“I have so many fond memories of playing baseball with my brother,” Carman said. “They [Syracuse Challengers baseball] are doing amazing things.”

Dom Cambareri, program director for Syracuse Challengers Baseball and founder of the Syracuse Challenger Field of Dreams project, spoke passionately to the assembly and showed a video of what the complex with multiple fields would look like. The project will ultimately cost $10 million. So far, $2.2 million has been raised. Phase I of the project will commence in the spring.

“Our kids are able to hit, run and score in our Syracuse Challengers Baseball League,” Cambareri, who has a son with special needs, said. “They experience joy, dignity and independence. We are the largest Challenger Baseball League in this country, but we have no fields. All things are possible,” he added.

A goal has been set for the 25 homerooms at CBA to each donate $250. The money will be collected on April 14.

“Our students are very excited about this project and are hopeful that all of our CBA community can give us support,” said Marijane Finlay, campus ministry service coordinator.

A prayer service and the distribution of ashes followed the Lenten Drive presentation.

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