The Emporia State baseball team raised $800 to help Connor Burns, senior pitcher, visit his family in Alberta, Canada. Burns’ mom, Lynne Burns, was recently diagnosed with cancer for the third time.
He will be there during Canadian Thanksgiving, beginning Oct. 8.
“That’s the whole reason for my trip home,” Burns said in an email to The Bulletin. “Usually, we are fine with me coming home for summer break and Christmas break and that’s it, especially financially. However, being that this is her third time with cancer, she wanted me to come home for Thanksgiving.”
The process was started by two of his teammates, Trey Taylor, graduate pitcher, and Drew Scrimsher, senior pitcher. According to Taylor, they called the effort “project plane ticket.”
“We wanted to do something special for (him),”Scrimsher said. “We know he’d do it for us too.”
It started during practice
a couple weeks ago, when they were joking about Burns going home for the weekend, and he ending up telling Taylor and Scrimsher about the situation with his mom, Taylor said.
“Then (last) Monday night, Drew and I did some talking to see if we could figure something out for him,” Taylor said.
That same night, Burns’ family bought his plane ticket home. So, the team put the funds together to help reimburse them.
According to Taylor, they created a GroupMe with the current baseball team, some graduated players, family and friends to explain what they were doing and they raised the money together.
Then, on Sept. 19, they surprised Burns after practice with the money and a card for his mom.
“We got the team together at the end of practice,” Taylor said. “Drew and I went out there to the middle of the circle and Drew said…‘Connor, we’ve really been thinking about you, praying about you. We all know the situation, and we wanted to get together and do a little something for you.’”
That’s when Taylor handed Burns the card.
“I said ‘Make sure you deliver that to Lynne when you go home for Thanksgiving.’ Then, (Drew) whipped out the money...and said ‘We know how important your family is to you, how important you are to your family and how important you are to us. We want you to be able to see your mom as many times as you want and as often as you want. So, we pulled together and raised some money for you to get home...Fly safe and we’re here for you,’” Taylor said. “Then there were some tears that followed and a lot of hugs.”
Burns said it was an emotional moment that meant a lot to him and his family.
“I was pretty moved,” Burns said. “I cried...It was pretty heartwarming...They didn’t have to (do) that at all. They just kind of did it, without even questioning it. It meant a ton to my parents, just because it’s pretty tough financially. It meant the world to my mom. That was amazing.”
Being able to pull together this many people in such a short amount of time meant a lot to him and his family, according to Scrimsher.
“I just think it’s really cool that in a week,…with a lot of guys who just met him, we got over 20 people that are brand new to the team…and guys from last year that are all over the country, girlfriends, parents and family members that contributed,” Scrimsher said. “I think it’s pretty cool how you can get everybody together behind a good cause for a good person and a good family and get the money together to do something special.”
Doing something small like this can leave a bigger impact, and it’s about the bigger picture, Taylor said.
“It seems small to us, but, you know, it’s the big picture and our team motto these past few years has been ‘a small part of something big’ and this just adds to it,” Taylor said. “Whether it was $10 here or there, that’s something usually anyone can give up, but when it adds up to $800 and handles a plane ticket…it’s pretty cool.”