Miracle League Heads for Home with $130,000 gift

The West Michigan Miracle League, an organization providing children with mental and physical disabilities an opportunity to experience America’s favorite pastime, received an early holiday miracle this week.

In memory of Nate Hurwitz, the Hurwitz and Berkowitz families have donated $130,000 to the WMML as it nears its fundraising goal to build the Miracle Field as a part of the West Michigan Sports Commission’s 12-field championship baseball and softball complex in Plainfield Township. A Miracle Field is a custom-designed, rubberized turf field that accommodates wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive devices while helping to prevent injuries. The Miracle League uses a buddy system, which pairs each player with an able-bodied peer to help them play.

The donation was made honoring the dream of Nate, the 16-year-old WMML board member whose goal was to give disabled children a place to play baseball, a sport he loved but was never able to play. Nate, a junior at Forest Hills Eastern High School, suffered from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare degenerative muscle disease that meant he had to use a wheelchair for much of his childhood. The teen passed away unexpectedly from an infection earlier this fall, sparking an outpouring of support for Nate and his dream to see the Miracle Field built.

“Losing Nate leaves a void we will never be able to fill, but our family felt strongly that the best way to continue his legacy was to make sure the Miracle Field becomes a reality,” said Dan Hurwitz, Nate’s father, speaking on behalf of the Hurwitz and Berkowitz families. “We hope that this donation spurs others to jump in and help the organization meet its goal. Nate may not be able to watch kids take the field for the first time or serve as the game announcer, but we look forward to seeing him in smiles and joy experienced by other kids participating in a sport he loved.”

Nate joined the West Michigan Miracle League’s board of directors this past spring and planned to announce the games at the field. Since his passing, numerous fundraisers have sprung up across West Michigan with children and adults alike coming together to help accomplish Nate’s dream. More than $70,000 has been contributed to the WMML by friends, community groups and other family members, in tribute to Nate which, when combined with the Hurwitz and Berkowitz families’ donation, brings the total raised in Nate’s memory to more than $200,000.

“The community’s response to Nate’s passing has been amazing,” said Tony Comden, West Michigan Miracle League president. “We have been working hard for the past year to get the word out to the community about how important this field is. The entire WMML Board feels so blessed by this recent donation, and it will be our honor and privilege to use this donation to help finish what Nate started.”

Approximately $450,000 is committed to constructing a Miracle League field at the Art Van Sports Complex on Ten Mile Road in Rockford, toward a goal of $600,000. If the organization raises another $75,000 by the end of 2012, WMML will have the opportunity to begin construction of its Miracle League field in the Spring of 2013.

“If we meet our fundraising goals, we expect to celebrate our first season of Miracle League baseball by September 2013, marking the first field open in the complex,” said Comden. “There is no place today for special-needs children to play baseball in West Michigan, and we’re excited to be so close to filling this need and having kids on the diamond less than a year from now.”

Contributions to The West Michigan Miracle League can be made at www.WMML.org.

 

 

Approximately $450,000 is committed to constructing a Miracle League field at the Art Van Sports Complex on Ten Mile Road in Rockford, toward a goal of $600,000. If the organization raises another $75,000 by the end of 2012, WMML will have the opportunity to begin construction of its Miracle League field in the Spring of 2013.

“If we meet our fundraising goals, we expect to celebrate our first season of Miracle League baseball by September 2013, marking the first field open in the complex,” said Comden. “There is no place today for special-needs children to play baseball in West Michigan, and we’re excited to be so close to filling this need and having kids on the diamond less than a year from now.”

Contributions to The West Michigan Miracle League can be made at www.WMML.org.

About The West Michigan Miracle League

The West Michigan Miracle League (www.WMML.org) is a local charitable organization that provides children with mental and/or physical challenges an opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league. During each Miracle League game, every child is given an opportunity to hit the ball and score a run. Miracle League team members are assigned “buddies” who assist them in hitting the ball and “running” the bases. Buddies can be fellow schoolmates, parents, college students, business leaders or anyone who wishes to volunteer their time to give a child the gift of baseball.

 

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