A Missouri softball team that is playing this season in the memory of an 11-year-old Triad student who killed herself is continuing to spread an anti-bullying message.
Bethany Thompson shot herself in October after what her parents described as constant harassment at school. Bethany had an off-center smile caused by a brain surgery done to remove a cancerous tumor in her head and was teased because of it. Her suicide made national headlines, and caught the attention of traveling softball 3N2 Force.
Head Coach Craig Chamberlain said the team is working hard to win ballgames and to spread Bethany Thompson’s story.
“Everywhere we go we hand out bracelets,” he said. “Every time we play a team the first thing we do before the game starts is we walk to the other dugout, explain who Bethany is, explain what our season is all about and give the other teams bracelets. We give their fans bracelets, we have three anti-bullying banners. Quite a bit of stuff. It’s been a whirlwind to say the least.”
He said the team has given out more than 5,000 #IAMBETHANY bracelets and over 1,000 anti-bullying pamphlets. The girls have also made personal connection with kids who are being bullied.
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“If we find them and reach out to their parents and my girls will sit down and each write a personalized letter to the kid that is being bullied and we will send our team photo, all those letters from the kids and we do that on a weekly basis,” he said.
The team also hosted a 12-year-old girl who was being bullied at her school. The youth quickly made 12 players new friends and was able to enjoy the weekend with the team.
If anyone knows a child that is suffering from bullying and wants the team to help, contact the team on their Facebook page, 3N2 Force Fastpitch 16U.
“We’re making an impact,” Chamberlain said. “I know we made a big impact on the lives of the kids we send letters to.
“(Bullying) is sad, to me it’s an epidemic,” he said. “This needs to be brought to the forefront and until it is suicides are going to keep happening.”
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