Couple begins charity soccer event to help raise funds for child with Rett syndrome
TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - On Saturday at Crossroads Park in Temple, Abby and Johnny Hernandez hosted their third annual 3v3 charity soccer tournament. Since 2021, it has become a way for the couple to help others through their favorite sport.
“It really just started with us loving soccer and us really wanting to find a way to give back through playing soccer,” said Abby Johnson. “We talked about it a couple of years ago on how we could give back, and it just took off from there.”
With a $20 entry fee, the tournament also sold burgers, barbecue, snacks, and held raffle at the event to help raise money for two-year old Maddie Proctor and her family.
We are one of the blessed ones.. She’s just fantastic.. She’s just got git and heart
Maddie has a rare genetic mutation called Rett syndrome. There are only about 350,000 cases in the world. Maddie also is one of only 48 in the world with her specific genetic deletion, which means she has to make many trips to therapy and treatment to perform daily tasks.
“It’s insane how many times a day, just let alone a day, that she’s going to McLane’s to get treatment and how much it costs,” said Abby. “So whatever we can help, even if it’s just a fraction, at least it’s something.”
The therapy alone runs the Proctors about $2,000 a month. Medications and other treatments can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most of the treatments are not covered by insurance. In fact, the Proctors have denied coverage on four separate occasions.
“If you’re in an area (financially) where you are in that sweet spot where you make just enough, you don’t always get the coverage,” said Maddie’s mother Adriene Proctor. “And fundraisers are essential for that.”
Earlier this year, the Proctors had to sell their truck just to pay for a few months of therapy, but with the help of the tournament, they’ll be covered for at least a month or two of sessions.
“There are no words,” said Proctor. “Just knowing that Maddie is not fighting by herself, and to know that we’re not alone, it’s just priceless.”
Tournament participant Jamie Clark said the purpose of playing in this tournament should be to raise awareness for others who need help from their loved ones.
“You see it and your heart breaks for it and you always wonder what you can do,” said Clark. “And if this is all you can do and just come out here for emotional support and just for comradery, then do it. But to be able to directly affect people that work so hard to do this like Johnny and Abby do every year, that just feels great and it feels like I’m giving back.”
Maddie’s mother also said she wants others to know that Maddie and her family are not the only ones in this particular situation.
“There are so many other Maddie’s that are out there here in Bell county,” said Proctor. “There are so many other parents whose kids have special needs and are in the same boat as us and they need the same help as us.”
Click here to donate to Maddie’s GoFundMe page.
For more information on Rett syndrome and how to support research, visit rettgive.org
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