On April 13, Harrisburg pitcher Logan Darnell lost his mother, Caye, after a six-year battle with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 59 back home in Nashville, Tennessee. Since the original diagnosis, Logan had become a crusader in raising awareness for the disease utilizing his minor league connections along the way.
“When you first find out, it’s shocking, and you don’t understand the negatives behind the disease,” Darnell said. “Once it started getting worse in 2015 and 2016 when I was in Rochester, I felt like I had a platform there. So I did a bunch of different things like a jersey night there that did well. I did a golf outing there that raised money. I did a bartending night.”
With that in mind, Darnell has teamed up with the Senators to make Thursday, July 26, a memorable night as the team will wear specialty jerseys and caps that will be auctioned off during and after the game with the proceeds benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater PA. As he did in Rochester, Darnell is also paying for the production of the jerseys himself instead of relying on corporate sponsorship.
“If you put a lot into it, whether it is money, time, or effort, it usually grows,” he said. “Paying for jerseys is a small price. There are a lot of people that come to the games that also have family members that have been touched by the disease. The jerseys are an easy thing.”
This season Darnell has already spearheaded the Senators holding a fundraising event at Arooga’s and auctioning off Bryce Harper autographed game-worn cleats for $1,325. He also has a GoFundMe page looking to raise money to start a foundation in his mother’s name.
“Let’s make something good out of something so bad,” he said. “I went through this bad thing, and I can help so many other people because I’ve been through it. That’s why it’s focusing towards a foundation in her name and helping people because I already know what they’re about to go through.”
There are currently 5.7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, and by 2050 the number is projected to rise significantly to 14 million. The disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States ahead of diabetes and kidney disease.
“She was always smiling and laughing,” Darnell said of his mother. “You can ask the guys on the team. I’m usually the first one to goof off, make jokes, and be light. I definitely got it from her.
“She was always doing good for others, and that’s the name of the game.”