40th Hog Ball Tournament raising money for kids with neuromuscular diseases

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ROSSVILLE, Kan. (KSNT)– On Sunday, people from Northeast Kansas got a chance to go head to head, raising money for kids with neuromuscular diseases.

One of those kids is a seven-year-old St. Marys girl who is defying odds. And with the communities help, she’s able to do things others take for granted.

For the past four years, Mia and her mom Deanna Gaumer have gone to every Hog Ball Tournament. But they don’t go just to see the friendly softball competition, they go because Mia is one of the kids they’re raising money for.

Mia is seven years old. She has congenital myotonic dystrophy, a neuromuscular disease. And making it to seven years old is rare.

“Ninety-nine percent of them die at birth,” Deanna said. “The other one percent die within the first year. She’s one of the rare ones that got to live.”

But for seven days, Mia gets a chance to forget about her neuromuscular disease, living like a kid at Camp Milton. The camp is for kids with neuromuscular diseases put on by the Neuromuscular Access Initiative. A non-profit based in Kansas City.

“This is the one week of the year where they get to be with their peers,” Sandy Becker said, a volunteer for Camp Milton and the Hog Ball Tournament. “Be with kids like them, be themselves. It’s like a family reunion every year.”

“She gets to ride a horse,” Deanna said. “She goes zip-lining. You know, swimming. It’s all things that we take for granted.”

The camp runs on donated money collected by groups of people. Especially ones around Northeast Kansas.

“Without them, the camp would not happen,” said Jessica Hermanson with the Neuromuscular Access Initiative. “And so we’re so thankful for all of these people and all their hard work that they do year-round, to be able to fundraise for Camp Milton.”

At the end of the fundraiser, everyone who raised money for the camp comes together for the Hog Ball Tournament.

Giving Mia’s mom a chance to see her little girl live life without boundaries.

“We’ve met so many wonderful people that have loved our daughter so much,” Deanna said tearfully. “And I’m so thankful for all of their kindness and love showed to her. Because we don’t know how long we will have her.”

This was the 40th year for the Hog Ball Tournament. This year, they hit a record of money raised collecting more than $41,000 for kids like Mia.

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