NEWS · SPORTS August 31st, 2016

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Memorial matches to help Trace Manes park rejuvenation

All-Star baseball tournament celebrates life of Georgia Walsh

PHOTO COURTESY JILLIAN WALSH CELEBRATE: Jillian Walsh, third from left, is joined by her volunteer team Allison Jelley, Heidi Girvan, Kathy Roberts, Lauri Holomis and Susan Scandifio during the Georgia Walsh Memorial All-Star Game on Aug. 27.

The loss of Jillian Walsh’s 6-year-old daughter, Georgia, two years ago made her understand what the definition of community is.

That’s why on Aug. 27, Walsh celebrated the memory of her daughter, who was struck and killed by a distracted driver at McRae and Millwood roads, as well as Leaside’s love of baseball with the second annual Georgia Walsh Memorial All-Star Game at Trace Manes Park.

Partnering with the Leaside Baseball Association for the fundraiser, Walsh, with the help of Mark Vendramini, organized two all-star matches for players age 6 to 9 complete with food, animals and games for all in attendance.

Walsh admitted it was a day of mixed emotions, as baseball was one of Georgia’s favourite games.

“Her accident was one of those things that was preventable,” she said. “It didn’t need to happen, so, in many ways you could say, ‘Why did this happen to her?’ It doesn’t make sense.

“The only way to make sense of that loss is to channel that pain into something makes her loss turn something into a positive gain for lots of people.”

Money raised from the sports day is being donated to the rejuvenation of Trace Manes Park. Their goal is $1.2 million, and they’ve raised over $300,000 so far. Plans will include a new splash pad, special needs equipment, wheelchair accessibility, shade structures, as well as an enclosure to the space.

Premier Wynne threw a pitch

Premier Kathleen Wynne, sportscaster Christine Simpson and University of Toronto announcer Chris Worth were among those in attendance. Leaside Baseball’s Howard Birnie also threw out the opening pitch.

Walsh credited the community for being a big help as hundreds of neighbours came out to volunteer.

“I feel like Leaside and surrounding neighbourhoods really embraced Georgia like she was their own daughter,” she said. “We have felt that sense of compassion, empathy, love and support.

“We felt it on Saturday in all the people who continue to rally around us in support.”

Walsh said the Remembering Georgia Walsh campaign hopes to reach their target by the end of year.