Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wiffle Ball tourney -- and love -- fuels caring nature of young Indy couple

Almost a year ago, I did a post about a young man and woman on the Southside of Indianapolis -- college students -- who had made an important life decision to provide a home for the man's young nephews, who were in need of stability and a strong family support system.

The occasion for my photography outing last August was Branden Dudas' fundraising Wiffle Ball tournament, Wifflin' for Whitley, named for Branden's 12-year-old niece who had contracted and died from a rare form of brain cancer.

Dudas, a University of Indianapolis student and member of the baseball team (in the patriotic T-shirt in the photo at the left and watching one of his fly ball clouts sail below), had converted the back yard of his parents' home into a couple of wiffle ball diamonds to launch the Indy Southside Wiffle Ball (ISWB) League.

The 2016 tournament I attended raised a modest $400, boosting to $2,000 the total Brendan and the ISWB League have raised to battle Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and to fund the Whitley's Wishes Foundation that helps support a passion dear to Whitley -- the humane society.

That was last year.

Last weekend, Dudas and his girlfriend, Maddie Harris, brought a lot more fans and attention to the foundation when they hosted a ISWB all-star game that raised $1,300 for the cause.

Indianapolis Star sports columnist Gregg Doyle, whose profile of Brendan and Maddie last year, hooked me into checking out the 2016 Wifflin' for Whitley tournament, came out for the ISWB All-Star game last weekend, and wrote a follow-up piece that appeared in The Star this week. Gregg did a nice job encapsulating the weekend festivities ... and he updated changes that Dudas has made to the wiffle ball complex on Epler Avenue in Perry Township and the latest news on Brendan and Maddie's efforts to become guardians of the two boys. It's worth checking out.

Note: The photos in this post were taken in my 2016 visit to the Wifflin' for Whitley Tournament. 

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