Colon Cancer Survivor to fulfill lifelong dream at Stompers game on July 5

 Casey Thornhill (left) and his son, Greyson will participate in Colon Cancer Awareness Night on July 5 to benefit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. The event will also feature former San Francisco Giant Noah Lowry. (Photo courtesy of Casey Thornhill)

Casey Thornhill (left) and his son, Greyson will participate in Colon Cancer Awareness Night on July 5 to benefit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. The event will also feature former San Francisco Giant Noah Lowry. (Photo courtesy of Casey Thornhill)

SONOMA, Calif.– The Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club will host Colon Cancer Awareness Night on July 5, but that’s not the whole story.

The event was spurred by a message from Elsie Allen High School Assistant Principal Casey Thornhill, a colon cancer survivor. The 40-year-old single father’s lifelong dream was to pitch professionally, and he wanted a chance to play an inning for the Stompers.

“After my college career, I did not get drafted but I did get invited to try out for some independent teams,” Thornhill said. “My first tryout was in Missouri with the O'Fallon Rascals. I was hit by a pitch in my first at bat and broke my wrist. I decided to come back home and finish school at Sonoma State University and let the dream of playing professionally pass me by.”

“After battling cancer and going through chemotherapy, my perspective on life has changed. I don't think we should let dreams pass us by because of things that are out of our control. Life is short. I believe we should take advantage of living and do what we love.”

 Thornhill and his Rebl Baseball League teammates embrace during his first game back from surgery. (Photo courtesy of Casey Thornhill)

Thornhill and his Rebl Baseball League teammates embrace during his first game back from surgery. (Photo courtesy of Casey Thornhill)

Thornhill was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer last July and had to undergo an emergency surgery. Two weeks post-op, Thornhill completed the Santa Rosa half-marathon and pitched a complete game in the Rebl Baseball League when on chemotherapy in September.

“I had a lot of time to think about life while I was going through chemo,” Thornhill said. “I wanted to find a way to combine my love of baseball with a fundraiser that would benefit people who need help going through what I've gone through. That’s what inspired me to reach out to the Stompers.”

Thornhill finished chemotherapy in March and is now cancer free.

The July 5 event will benefit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, which supports the needs of patients and families, caregivers and survivors to raise awareness of preventive screening and fund critical research. Former San Francisco Giant pitcher Noah Lowry will also join the festivities, signing autographs on the concourse and supporting the cause.

The event will also feature raffles with several enticing prizes, including a Mark Melancon signed baseball, a $50 gift card for Maya restaurant on the Plaza and gift baskets from local Sonoma businesses.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are available at the box office or online.

ABOUT THE STOMPERS

Established in 2014, the Stompers have three Pacific Association Championship appearances and one title. In addition to being featured in the National Baseball Hall of Fame several times, the Stompers were the subject of New York Times Bestseller "The Only Rule is it Has To Work" by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller.

STOMPERS TICKETS AND MORE INFORMATION

Our home opener is June 5! To purchase Stompers tickets and to find more information about the team, visit stompersbaseball.com, call us at (707) 938-7277 or send an email to info@stompersbaseball.com.