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Helping cancer society a personal cause for BernsPosted Wednesday, April 15, 2009, at 2:30 PM
I would venture to say there is not a person on this planet that has not personally been affected by cancer. Whether it be a friend or family member, it seems like everyone knows someone that has suffered with or succumbed to the disease.
Linton-Stockton High School baseball coach Bart Berns is no different. It was almost 13 years ago when Berns lost his father to stomach cancer. His mother also is suffering with lung cancer.
Because of this, Berns and his Miners are again participating with the American Cancer Society in cooperation with the Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association as part of Baseball Strikes Out 'K'ancer.
Linton-Stockton was part of 70 high schools that took part in the program last year, helping to raise almost $11,000 for cancer research.
"This is a very, very special cause to me," said Berns, who is in his 19th season in charge of the Miner baseball fortunes. "Cancer claimed the life of my dad (Norman Berns) in 1996. My mom (Betty Berns) is fighting through lung cancer right now.
"Anything that I can do personally I will do. My players know what it means to me. I know it is a small step."
Berns said he is proud of be one of the 70 high schools in Indiana that participated.
"We were one of 70 out of God knows how many," said Berns. "I think this is a very worthy cause and that everybody should get involved."
Berns said that all of his players are actively raising money and it will culminate with donations being accepted at the Miners home game at 11 a.m. Saturday against Bloomfield at Roy Herndon Field.
"Our Dugout Club makes a donation," said Berns, who is from Prairie du Chen, Wisc., the town where his mother still resides. "I also donate personally.
"This is a cause that I take very seriously and our players do as well."
Berns said he recently asked his players to raise their hands, if they were related to or knew someone that had their life claimed by the hands of cancer.
"There were quite a few that raised their hands," he said. "Whatever we raise, 100 percent of that goes directly to the American Cancer Society.
"Our donation, however small it is, can hopefully make a difference in helping to find a cure."
Berns said that he spent as much time with his father during his final days 13 years ago.
"I was with him every step of the way," said Berns. "But he made me load up by bags and come back and coach in the sectional that year.
"It is a really helpless feeling to know that someone is dying and there is nothing you can do about it. You just have to make sure that you try to enjoy every day you have."
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at email@example.com or at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12.
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