Team Erica sells T-shirts in honor of Erica Schmitt

Photo by Mike Lamb Prairie Home Hospice Marketing and Development Director Tara Plante serves pork chops on stick to Marshall youth baseball players, including Erica Schmitt’s son, Isaac, standing in the back. Erica Schmitt died July 5 from colon cancer. Proceeds from the feed went to help individuals and families dealing with cancer.

MARSHALL — Four years ago, Marshall resident Erica Schmitt shared her thoughts about participating in the Lyon County Relay for Life. She told the Independent in an interview she loved hearing the stories shared there.

However, that particular relay event affected her differently from previous relays. As an honorary chairperson she was the one now fighting for her life as a cancer patient.

“It was just one of the those things that happens,” Schmitt said in that interview. In 2013, she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. A CT scan showed tumors covering Schmitt’s liver and a spot on her left lung. The surgeon told her she had a 6 percent chance of surviving a year.

Schmitt lost her battle with cancer and died July 5 at the age of 46. But on Thursday, her name and legacy lived on during the Tough Enough to Wear Pink pork chop on a stick event at Independence Park sponsored by Prairie Home Hospice. A group called Team Erica joined up with Tough Enough to Wear Pink to sell T-shirts and raise funds for other individuals and families battling cancer.

The event was held at the same time as youth baseball games were being played on the nearby baseball diamonds. The same diamonds where Schmitt and her husband, Troy, watched their three sons — Issac, Parker and Nolan — play games. Team Erica is made up of team parents coming together after Schmitt’s death to sell “Strike Out Cancer” T-shirts.

“It’s the love of the family,” parent Colleen Thompson said. She attended Thursday’s event to help sell the shirts. “This Team Erica ‘Strike Out’ shirt was kind of the baseball families coming together to support her (Erica Schmitt) by wearing the shirts and kind of helping.”

“We kind of teamed up with Team Erica,” said Tara Plante, who helped serve the pork chops on a stick. She is the marketing and development director for Prairie Home Hospice. “Her boys played baseball. It’s a huge baseball family. They wanted to honor her and remember her as a huge sports fan and such a great person, fantastic baseball mom, football mom and hockey mom. We thought it would be great to bring them together for the same cause.”

Plante said proceeds from the “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” T-shirts help families deal with living expenses while they battle cancer.

“We provide gift bags for cancer patients. We provide free massages to anybody who has been through cancer treatments, things like that,” Plante said. “We donate to those families in the area that we hear about, when we hear that they are struggling with some of the extra expenses.”