In photos: Batting for charity, LivFree baseball tournament to aid pediatric cancer patients
BRIDGEPORT — The second annual LivFree Step to the Plate charity baseball tournament took over baseball diamonds across Seaside Park on Sunday.
LivFree — the creation of Shelton residents Daniel Vieira and his wife, Katrina Lage — raises money through events such as this athletic tournament for pediatric cancer patients and their families.
“It was incredible,” Vieira said. “Weather was awesome, and everyone was in the spirit of giving.”
Vieira said the event — which featured Bridgeport’s Technique Tiger Baseball Academy and Shelton Siege Travel Baseball dueling on the diamond — raised $20,454. Last year, the tournament garnered about $19,000.
The Shelton couple said they created LivFree to help families dealing with a child with cancer. The couple wanted to help others after their experience with their daughter, Lauren, known as Liv, who was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 16 months old.
After dealing with chemotherapy and medicines, Liv is healthy and in second grade, Vieira said.
LivFree is a non-profit organization whose mission, according to Vieira, is to fight pediatric cancer with smiles by providing children and their families an experience such as visits to a movie theater, a sporting event or meeting a celebrity. During the pandemic, Vieira said LivFree has offered a virtual experience, offering families subscription services to Disney+, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
LivFree has also teamed with area non-profits in offering services to families, from GrubHub deliveries and Amazon gift certificates to XBox Live subscriptions and care packages that contain board games, toys and face masks. Since COVID-19 hit the state, Vieira said, LivFree has assisted 110 families.