A day to remember Chase

Volleyball has been an outlet for Fredonia volleyball coach Chris Anderson.

For a couple hours a day, Anderson can take his mind off an unthinkable event which happened in his life two years ago.

On Oct. 4, 2011, Anderson and his wife, Molly, gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy, Chase.

On Oct. 16, 2011, Chase passed away as a result of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

“He actually stopped breathing,” Anderson recalled. “His skin was turning blue. We called 9-1-1. (Molly) gave him CPR. Once the EMTs got there, they took him to Westfield Memorial and he was transferred to Women & Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. It felt like days, but in retrospect, it happened very, very quick.”

Every year when the volleyball season schedule comes out, Anderson looks to see if his team plays on Oct. 4 and Oct. 16.

This Wednesday, the Lady Hillbillies take on the Forestville Lady Hornets on the two-year anniversary of Chase’s death.

“Basically those are days where you get sadder,” Anderson said. “Not a day goes by you don’t get sad at some point. There are days you tend to feel a bit more down and tend to rethink everything that happened. It’s images that are burned in your mind and never go away. It just makes it a little harder on those days. It’s hard at some point every day.”

To remember Chase, the game will be part of a fundraiser called “Ace For Chase” as all proceeds from the game will be donated to First Candle.

“For me, I am expecting it to be a difficult day in general until we get to playing volleyball,” Anderson said. “Then I can focus on that. The best part is I am going to be surrounded by family, friends and colleagues. It will put my focus on something else, but it will be a special day in general.”

According to the First Candle website, First Candle is a national nonprofit health organization uniting parents, caregivers and researchers nationwide with government, business and community service groups to advance infant health and survival. With help from a national network of partner organizations, they are working to increase public participation and support in the fight against Stillbirth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other causes of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID).

There will be an auction, a television raffle and 50-50. Wristbands will also be on sale. Many of the items to be raffled off were donated by local businesses, while the players will be wearing special jerseys which were also donated.

“I decided it was time for us to do one of our own,” Anderson said of the fundraiser, noting Molly and his 4-year-old son Nolan will be in attendance. “My players are really excited. They have been looking forward to it. It’s one of those nights where the younger generation can see it’s not always about volleyball and winning. It’s about the type of person you are. That’s what I teach with these kids.”

The jayvee match will start at 4:30 p.m. and the varsity match will follow. If anyone wants to make a donation, checks can be made payable to “Ace of Chase.”