Family to host softball tournament

Published 12:01 am Saturday, May 23, 2015

By Morgan Mizell

NATCHEZ Cathy Warren and Jody Stevens, along with other members of Springfield Baptist Church, will host a co-ed softball tournament on Father’s Day weekend at Liberty Ball Park in Natchez to help raise money for the family of Mary Katherine Sanford.

Each team wishing to enter the tournament must pay $150.00.

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Warren said many business and organizations have sponsored teams in the past, and if they do so this time, they will happily coordinate teams for these sponsors.

Teams can have six boys and four girls, or seven boys and five girls.

“We will have items to raffle, including a BBQ grill, fishing rod and a cooler,” Warren said. “I am sure more items will be included before the event takes place.”

There will be concessions available during the tournament.

“We are hoping to have everything donated, so monies raised during the tournament will all go to Mary Katherine and her family,” Warren said. “Even if people can not participate in the games, they can buy a hamburger. It all helps.”

Sanford’s husband, William “Bubba” Sanford passed away a few weeks ago after a long battle with an autoimmune illness, which started not long after an injury at work.

“He had a reaction to some medication, and it was not long before his kidneys began to stop functioning,” Sanford said. “He underwent numerous surgeries and two kidney transplants.”

During this time, the Sanford’s suffered a significant loss. On the way to church Easter Sunday, 2006, Mary Katherine avoided hitting a deer only to collide with a tree. In that accident, she lost two of her three children, Will, 7 and Sarah, 4. It was her youngest son Dakota’s birthday. He turned 2 years old.

“I can remember hearing about the struggles of their family at our church,” Jody Stevens said. “Our youth were so touched, and they held multiple prayer sessions for them.”

Through the years, Sanford has relied on her family for support, and during the latter stages of her husband’s illness, her father was also faced with life-threatening illnesses.

“Without my faith, I don’t know how I would have made it,” Sanford said. “I remember many times through all of the years, Dakota would say to me ‘God’s got this,’ and he does.”

At times, she was back-and-forth between hospitals, checking on her husband and her father. There were so many close calls for her husband, and so many times of preparing for the worst.

“A few days before he passed away, he told the nurse he was ready to go home,” Sanford said. “Of course they told him they had to do some things before he could go back home, and he told them he was not talking about his home on Earth, he was talking about his eternal home.”

Sanford’s son, Dakota simply had this to say about his father, “He was the best dad.”

Glenda and Scotty Maxey, Mary Katherine’s parents both spoke highly of their son-in-law. “He was a fun loving guy and he had a ball,” Scotty said. “Even in his state, when he was not in the hospital, he would come take care of things at our house. He always tried to help others.”

“He had been sick for a long time, and he got the ultimate healing,” Glenda Maxey said.

Through the years, Sanford’s focus has been her family and taking care of her husband. Aside from the need for paying for final expenses, she desperate need of home renovations.

“Our goal is to cover the funeral costs for Mary Katherine’s husband,” Warren said. “Anything past that amount will go toward the repairs she needs for her home.”

The date of the tournament, being Father’s Day weekend will be a way to recognize all fathers, especially “Bubba.”

“We want to help get the word out about what we are doing and what we need,” Jody Stevens said. “We want to be able to raise the funds needed to get them past this financial difficulty.”

The response from people has been promising, so far.

“Thank God for caring people,” Scotty Maxey said. “These ladies, Cathy and Jody are family to us, and there are two things you can’t go through life without: God and family.”

Anyone wishing to help with donations, raffle items or desiring to form a team can contact Cathy Warren at 601-431-3377.