Chris Parker remembers his teenage sister Cynclaire's red hair and her love of playing softball.
Cynclaire Ruby Rogers died May 17 at her Hopkinsville home from a self-inflicted wound. The daughter of Ginger R. Rogers was a Christian County High School student and a member of Fruit Hill Baptist Church. She was 15 years old.
In less than a month, Parker and his cousin, David Chase, will memorialize Cynclaire with a benefit softball tournament in her name.
"Ever since my sister was old enough to throw a ball, she'd always go watch me play ball all through middle and high school," Parker said. "When she got old enough, she started playing tee ball and then started playing softball. She loved playing softball, but then she decided she was going to put her school work ahead of softball … She still loved the sport, but just didn't play anymore, so I figured what better way to honor her than trying to get people together to play a sport she loved."
Chase said the inaugural Cynclaire Ruby Rogers Softball Tournament is about remembrance and awareness.
"It's in remembrance of Cynclaire, a young woman whose life is gone too soon," he said. "Also, it's to raise awareness of suicide prevention and to change the stigma about people who need help and who need to talk."
The 10-team tournament will be July 27 and 28 at Ruff Park off North Drive, where Cynclaire played softball.
Parker said the dates for the tournament have special meaning to the family.
"Her birthday is Nov. 27," he said. "We sat there talking to Mom, and she said (July 27) was the perfect day to have it."
All games will be played on Field No. 9. Chase said all teams are guaranteed three games, with two games on July 27 and elimination games on July 28.
The cost is $50 per team, which is $5 per person for 10 players. Cost is $75 if teams want unlimited home runs for the team. Ages are 15 and older for players.
"All the proceeds from this entire event --- every dollar --- will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Society for Prevention of Teen Suicide," Chase said.
Chase said they are looking for corporate or individual sponsors to assist in buying items for the tournament, including T-shirts, softball equipment and other supplies. He said the names of donors would be displayed on T-shirts and signs at the event.
"We are looking for any donations that could help us get this off the ground," he said. "We're looking to buy T-shirts and also sell them at the complex, as well as suicide prevention wristbands with her initials on them. We're looking for funds for those. Anything to get this rolling."
Chase said a second annual softball tournament is already in the planning stage for next summer at Tie Breaker Park, 9501 Eagle Way.
A father of two, Parker said Cynclaire will always have a special place in his heart.
"She didn't really know her dad. I was the one who helped raise her and helped play in that role. When she was little, Mom was in nursing school, so I would be helping take care of her so Mom could do her homework," Parker said. "She was basically like my first child. That's how close she was to me. She knew if she ever needed anything at all, all she had to do was call me, text me or anything and I would be there."
Parker said he hopes the softball tournament pays tribute to his sister and shares a message of hope to others.
"You're never alone," he said. "No matter how hard things get, there's always going to be somebody whether you know them or not, that will take the time out of their day to talk to you, to help you realize you do matter. Your life does matter."
Reach Michele Vowell at 270-887-3242 or email@example.com.