Arzillo softball tournament raising funds for CdLS

Published 11:01 pm Wednesday, October 16, 2013

For those interested in playing softball for a worthy cause this weekend, there is still a chance to do so. The third Annual Arzillo Industries Invitational Softball Tournament benefiting the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Foundation will begin on Saturday at City View Park in Virginia Beach.

Julie Arzillo, who owns Suffolk-based Arzillo Industries with her husband James, has expanded the tournament to two days this year. Twelve men’s teams will play on Saturday, and a co-ed tournament will take place on Sunday.

Registration for the men’s tourney is now closed, but Arzillo would still like two more teams in the co-ed tourney.

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She raised $2,400 for the CdLS Foundation through the tourney in 2011 and about $3,200 in 2012. “I would like to raise over $5,000 this year,” she said.

The Cornelia de Lange Syndrome is a genetic condition occurring in about 1 in 10,000 live births, causing a range of physical, cognitive and medical challenges. The foundation does research to find out the cause of it and educates and supplies support to parents with children who have it.

Arzillo said the work the foundation does is “near and dear to our heart because our son Steven was born with it.”

She expressed gratitude his case is not as severe as some. He has many of the characteristics of the syndrome, but few of the actual problems.

Common medical issues resulting from CdLS include gastrointestinal problems, heart defects, seizures, vision problems and hearing loss. About a quarter of patients have partial joining of the toes or missing arms, forearms or fingers. Behavioral and communication issues and developmental delays often exist.

The syndrome often carries with it prominent facial features, including thin eyebrows that meet in the middle, long eyelashes, short upturned nose, thin downturned lips and other features.

This charity softball tournament and other events like it are very important to the foundation because it is non-profit. “Without it they wouldn’t be able to provide all of the information to people, parents like myself, to understand the syndrome that your child is born with,” Julie Arzillo said.

Steven Arzillo, who will be 20 in December, was not able to attend the tourney last year, but will be present this time around.

“He’s going to be throwing out the first pitch,” his mother said, and he will also be playing.

To give participants the most value for their money, players will be guaranteed to play in at least four games. This goes for both the men’s and co-ed tourneys.

Spectators get in for free, and there will be much they and players can do aside from just watch and play softball.

On Saturday, a home run derby will be held with a $20 entry fee. The winner will receive half the entry fee money and a trophy.

There will also be a 50/50 raffle. Tickets will be sold on both days, and the drawings will be on Sunday, though entrants are not required to be there to win.

There will be a wide variety of prizes. The CdLS Foundation helped Arzillo to acquire autographed baseballs from Chicago Cubs pitcher Scott Baker and Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, along with a signed picture by Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel.

The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk sent four tickets, the Spirit of Norfolk sent two dinner tickets, Cinema Cafe provided 10 tickets and The Sadler Center for the Performing Arts sent two tickets to hear Aaron Neville.

“All these kind souls were willing to donate all these great prizes,” Julie Arzillo said.

Raffle tickets will go at $10 apiece or three for $20.

Joe Havit will keep the City View Concessions stand open both days and contribute 10 percent of his sales to the CdLS Foundation.

The cost to register as a team for the co-ed tourney is $200. City View Park is located at 2073 Kempsville Road, Virginia Beach.

To register, contact Julie Arzillo at 539-8593 by Friday.

For more information on CdLS, visit www.cdlsusa.org.