As the high school softball season fast approaches, Sullivan High junior Hannah Cox is working hard on her game – for a couple of reasons.

Sure, improving upon a 27-win season would be something in the sights of Cox and her Eagles teammates

But there is something more.

As a freshman, Cox started the, 'Homer For Hope' program, a pledge-based program by which the Eagles raise money for a cause for each long ball they hit. Over the past two seasons, the team has raised $3,000 for Chase Hamilton, a Sullivan boy battling childhood cancer. The Eagles hit 31 home runs last fall as a part of that effort.

“My family went through troubles like this when I had a cousin diagnosed with leukemia,” Cox said. “It really took a toll on my family and I wanted to be able to help families who also had to go through that.”

In its third year of existence in conjunction with the Sullivan softball team, Homers For Hope is going strong, Eagles coach Ashley Crump said.

Cox is the impetus for that, the coach said.

“As a coach, you hope to teach your athletes far more than just the game of softball,” Crump said. “Hannah is definitely helping me accomplish this through Homers For Hope. Our girls get so pumped up when we hit a home run, not just because it helps us on the scoreboard, but because they know they are using their talent to make a difference in someone's life.”

Crump said Cox has touched the entire community with her vision.

“It has been humbling to see the donations and pledges come in from our fans, families, and even opponents,” Crump said. “Hannah has helped our entire team and community see beyond softball to focus on things that truly matter in life.”

Cox, who hit eight home runs last season, wants to become a pediatric oncologist.

This year, the Eagles will be raising money to help Kasen Halbert, a young boy suffering from a brittle bone disease.

“This really brings out the competitive side to see what player can hit most home runs,” Cox said. “Now it's to raise money for Kasen and to help the family with surgery expenses. This fills me with pride knowing I started something and when I leave school it will continue on and help families in need.”

Still, Cox said she knows that throughout its three years, Homers For Hope has worked because of her teammates, the school and the surrounding Sullivan community.

“This has shown how supportive fans are of everything and it shows just how tight-knit the community is,” Cox said. “My teammates are huge part of this and I couldn't have done it without them. The fans are huge and the coaches believe in me. I love all the community support for Chase, Kasen and Homers for Hope.”

People interested in the cause can either pledge money for each home run, or can make a donation.

To find our more about the Sullivan Homers For Hope or to make a pledge, contact Cox's mother, Heather, at coxh93@gmail.com.

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