By Mary Pritchard
Shrewsbury – In the words of Jacob (Jake) Boudreau's parents, Jim and Kristen, “Jake was a happy, healthy 5-year-old boy until he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer. For seven-and-a-half years, Jacob bravely fought this horrible disease, but sadly lost his battle and passed away on April 13, 2010, just shy of his 13th birthday. Jacob's journey was filled with strength, hope and courage that left an impression on all who came to know him. Our wish is to carry on Jake's passion for sports, education and the fulfillment of life.”
After Jake's death, family friends Karen and Ed Lenehan, expressed interest in establishing a scholarship fund in his name. On Saturday, July 16 the first Jacob M. Boudreau Memorial Scholarship Fund Wiffle Ball Tournament will be held.
“We thought about events like races or golf tournaments, and while those are great events, they'se more for adults,” Jim said. “Wiffle ball is for kids, adults and families and there's no skill required. It's more fun than anything: bringing together families, friends and the community, all of which were things that Jake treasured very much.”
Kristen said their family has been known to have large Wiffle ball games complete with nicknames for all players.
“The tournament is perfect because there's a connection with Jake,” Kristen said. “When we were planning a family trip to Cape Cod, Jacob was so excited to go and play Wiffle ball. He spray painted a Wiffle ball gold and was planning to present what he called the “Golden Wiffle” as a prize. He got sick again around that time and although he was able to attend the vacation, he couldn's play the games and never got to give the “Golden Wiffle.””
In addition to the scholarship, a memorial gift will be presented to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, an important place to the Boudreau family. Jake's sister, Hannah, a 2011 graduate of Shrewsbury High School, is pursuing a career in nursing inspired by her brother's journey.
“This is a good way to remember Jake,” she said. “We'se inviting our friends and family to come and celebrate Jake and help other people at the same time. We hope everyone has fun.”
The tournament, including a home run derby, raffles, DJ, food and other activities, will be held at Coolidge School, Jacob's elementary school.
“Jacob loved Coolidge,” Kristen said. “There's a bench and garden there in honor of him. The entire community has been so good to us so it's nice to be able to do this in Shrewsbury.”
“Our friends – the Lenehans, Karen and Dave Henning and Lesley and Steve Troio -have worked so hard to make this happen,” Jim said.
“There's lots of love between these families and this endeavor is like Jake's little legacy,” Kristen added.
The officially sanctioned Wiffle Ball Tournament will provide required official equipment. There is no base running and umpires will assist teams in keeping score.
Visit www.jacobmboudreaumemorialfund.com for rules, information and registration. Teams of three to five players are asked to pre-register by Thursday, July 9. Donations to the “JB Fund” may be mailed to Jacob M. Boudreau Memorial Scholarship Fund, 35 Elm St., Shrewsbury, MA 01545.