(KWTX) A local softball organization changed colors from its traditional black, red and white to orange and white to show support for its bighearted owner and founder who is undergoing treatment for kidney cancer.
A local softball organization changed colors from its traditional black, red and white to orange and white to show support for its bighearted owner and founder who is undergoing treatment for kidney cancer. (Courtesy photo)
Wes Waller founded the softball organization Buzz Fastpitch in 2004 and since that time it has grown to the largest organization of its kind in the area with hundreds of girls from 8 to 18 participating on teams from West to Waco and Belton.
Wes was a Buzz coach until he was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2015.
In 2018 the cancer metastasized to stage four renal cell carcinoma which has left Wes sidelined from the sport as a coach, but he’s remained a spectator and an active supporter of the teams and over the weekend the players whom he coached and supported returned the favor as the organization’s 18U team, which consists of players from 16 to 18, surprised Waller with their supportive jerseys.
“It was a surprise,” said 18U manager Trey Holdbrook , who also serves as president of Buzz.
“You should have seen him when he walked up. He doesn’t get emotional often, but he started to tear up for sure.”
Waller admits he was moved to tears by the gesture.
“It was pretty rewarding to see the jerseys,” Waller said.
But it was the message printed on them that really hit home with the former coach.
Every sleeve of the jerseys included #keepswinging, a phrase Wes often preached to his team.
“I never realized how important it was to really keep swinging and always keep fighting until something real like this hits you and then you realize all the years of coaching of saying ‘hey never give up, stay positive, work hard for what you want,’ became reality for me.”
Holdbrook says the team, which already has nine girls committed to play college softball, will wear the orange jerseys as long as their founder is in the fight.
“Wes founded us and he’s done so much for so many people and he’s really done a lot for myself and all of our girls and every time we wear them it’s to show appreciation for all that man has done,” he says.
Buzz isn’t the only way Waller has given back in the community.
He’s been a huge supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Waco, spearheaded several fundraising events for young cancer patients and helped lead the effort to get Garth Goodwin, a Waco firefighter paralyzed after falling off a billboard off duty, a brand new wheelchair accessible home.
Wes is currently undergoing immunotherapy treatment for the cancer, which includes 12 treatments in two years.
He’ll complete that in April and then hopes that something new and more effective will come along.
But there is one motto he’ll live by no matter what curve ball life throws his way.
“Keep swinging,” Waller said. “And never give up.”