Weekend of fun in Grass Valley focused on raising money for breast exams | TheUnion.com

Weekend of fun in Grass Valley focused on raising money for breast exams

Ronnie Warmerdam, left, and Dr. Melisa Agness warm up for the “Saved by Second Base” fundraiser a few years back. The event is geared around offsetting costs of mammography and breast ultrasounds.
Submitted by Melisa Mistler |


What: 6th Annual “Saved by Second Base” Fundraiser

When: July 22-23

Schedule: 8 a.m. — 10 p.m. July 22, Ladies’ Softball ($250 per 10-member team)

8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 23, Cornhole Contest ($100 per four person team)

On the web: Insight Imaging Facebook page

Helping enable women to safeguard themselves against breast cancer is the goal of the Sixth Annual “Saved by Second Base” softball tournament July 22-23 at Grass Valley’s Memorial Park.

“It’s the not knowing,” said Ronnie “Softball” Warmerdam, founder of the tournament. “To not know, to have the stress of thinking, ‘I’ve got a lump.’ With the whole cancer thing, it’s the not knowing.”

Tournament proceeds help fund mammograms and other preventive health care services for women who have no insurance, are underinsured or have a high deductible.

“I started the tournament in 2012 because I’m a breast cancer survivor and active softball player,” said Warmerdam, who is well-known for her 25 years as secretary of the Western Nevada County Slo-pitch Softball Association. “I had a relatively easy time with breast cancer in 2011 because I caught my cancer at stage one. But I wanted to help other women who might not have the funds to get annual check-ups. No one should be stuck out there without the financial opportunity to have a lump checked.”

The tournament has raised more than $40,000 over the last five years. In the past, the event has been a two-day co-ed softball tournament. This year, a ladies-only softball tournament will be held Saturday, and a cornhole competition will be held Sunday. Cornhole is a game in which players try to toss bean bags into the hole of an angled, raised platform.

To sign up to compete on a team, volunteer, donate, or become a sponsor, call Warmerdam at 530-613-8595 by July 19.

Warmerdam teams with Dr. Melissa Agness, a board-certified radiologist who offers screening mammography, breast ultrasound and diagnostic mammography at her Insight Imaging office in Grass Valley.

“There are women who come in panicked and anxious,” said Agness. “Some are flushed, some have hives and some self-medicate. It’s the fear of the unknown or ‘what if?’ Some women don’t want to get the additional imaging even after we’ve found an abnormality because most of the time, insurance will not pay for it.”

Typical screening mammograms and ultrasounds cost $150. A diagnostic mammogram runs $275.

Money raised at the “Saved by Second Base” fundraiser allows Agness to offer those services free or at a reduced fee to about 100 women each year.

“Without those funds, I think we would have more women dying of breast cancer,” Agness said.

Agness and her staff purchase all the food and drinks sold at the tournament, and even cook all the hamburgers, hot dogs and corndogs.

“Come out and buy a hot dog, or raffle tickets or pay for someone else to play if you don’t want to participate. It’s all tax deductible,” she said. “Volunteer, score cornhole, or just bring a bag of ice.”

Warmerdam explained the risque nature of the tournament’s name.

“A friend of mine came up with the name, ‘Saved by Second Base,’ because her husband had found her cancer,” she said, referring to the slang term for what sometimes occurs on a second date (first base is kissing).

“This year I want the atmosphere to really be one of celebrating the survival of cancer. We’re even going to have Cancer Survivor Cornhole teams in which one of the four team members must be a cancer survivor or battling cancer now.”

Lorraine Jewett is a freelance writer who lives in Nevada County. She can be reached at LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.

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