CHILLICOTHE, Ill. (WMBD) — A central Illinois community came together for a girl with autism who was a victim of bullying last month.
Many stepped up to the plate today in Chillicothe to Bat against Bullying. The event is raised awareness for those like Makenna Batson who are victims of bullying.
Batter up, the Chillicothe community came out Saturday in an effort to strike out bullying. Founder of a page supporting Makenna, Lyndsay Ryerson said she’s amazed how the community has rallied behind Makenna.
“It’s never okay to bully. It’s not OK to pick on somebody weaker than you,” Ryerson said.
Organizers throwing the Batting Against Bullying softball tournament on Saturday to support a 17-year-old autistic girl, Makenna Batson. Makenna Batson said the support is overwhelming.
“They are never going to be alone,” Batson said. “I will even stand up for anyone I see getting bullied.”
Makenna was bullied last month in Chillicothe leading people like Todd Toliver to immediately want to show support.
“After we saw the video, and hearing the backstory, we really wanted to see what we could do as a softball family,” Toliver said.
Toliver says he knew area teams would step up to the plate and says he’s blown away by the sold out tournament.
“It was huge, people reaching out to me and seeing people come from out of state to play in this tournament and raise money for awareness,” Toliver said.
The event featuring tournament play, a home-run derby, silent auctions, and raffle items with all proceeds going to Makenna and her family overwhelming the Batsons with support. Terry Batson, Makenna’s dad said it’shard to put into words.
“It’s been incredible,” Batson said. “It has been…it’s really hard to explain, but it’s been the greatest thing.”
One player said no matter the score, Saturday’s event was about raising awareness and spreading the word of anti-bullying. Matt Morris, owner of a custom tee shirt company supplied jerseys for the event.
“It’s all in good fun, that’s why we’re out here,” Morris said.
The Batsons and event organizers said anyone can be victims of bullying and want you to know someone cares.
All proceeds from today’s event went directly to Makenna and her family with some going to Easterseals,the Central Illinois Autism Association, Crossword Cafe and her college fund.