Written by: Emelia Karkazis, Amanda Witzlib & Sean Callahan
Sean (Director of Strategic Initiatives at VMP), Emelia (class of 2021) and Amanda (class of 2022) are members of the Thriller @ Miller planning committee
Meetings for the event, an annual fundraising softball game between MUSoD and MCW, began early in January. Those involved from Marquette’s end were Dr. Lisa Koenig, Mr. Brian Trecek, Dr. Albert Abena, Ms. Karen Camara, Leah Fax (D3), Brad Morgen (D3), Emelia Karkazis (D2), Jack Orzepowski (D2), Amanda Witzlib (D1), and Matt Muelbl (D1). They worked together with representatives from the Medical College of Wisconsin, along with Sean Callahan, Director of Strategic Initiatives at VMP.
The day of the event, volunteers and committees from both schools met at 6:30 am on a bright and sunny morning at Helfaer Field to prepare for the event filled day. Once everything was just about ready, committee members enjoyed an annual tradition of a celebratory breakfast at the County Clare Inn. Back at Helfaer field, the food and enjoyment was all set for the first pitch of the day. Starting promptly at 11:00 am, the first of four softball games commenced. The VMP 70 plus seniors beat the VMP All Stars 9-7. Throughout the day, Marquette and MCW played various games against each other. MUSoD pulled ahead with a 10-2 fun-game-win and then the two schools joined together to face the VMP 65/plus team! Soon the long-anticipated competitive game would begin at 3:15 —the final match, determining the winner of the Caduceus Cup.
Prior to the Caduceus Cup game, everyone took a moment to recognize an individual who not only put his heart and soul into Thriller @ Miller for thirteen years, but was the founding father who started this wonderful day. Thirteen years ago, Dr. Lynch came up with the wonderful idea for Thriller @ Miller. Every year, the money raised, number of people attended, and success of the event increased because of him. It was important to honor Dr. Lynch and his tremendous impact on not only this event, but every student, faculty, colleague, family, and friend. The Lynch Family, affectionally known as the “Lynch Mob” was honored on the mound and presented with a check for $10,000 in honor of the Denis Lynch Fund. It is a scholarship fund to benefit deserving graduating students. Dr. Lynch’s grandchildren then threw the ceremonial first pitch before the game. In addition, a gold shamrock with his initials “DPL” was placed on the sleeve of every shirt at the event.
While MUSoD was unable to take home the Caduceus Cup, it as a fantastic back-and-forth extra-innings game with a final score of 13-10, in favor of MCW. Overall, the day was a fantastic success. Great fun was had by all, and over $20,000 dollars were raised for the VMP funds mentioned above. In attendance, about 700 people were able to enjoy the event and cheer on their teams and colleauges. Later in the night, the Brew Crew clinched the win against the San Francisco Giants 5-4, to finish the fun-filled day.
Overall it was another great year filled with laughs, great food and some exciting softball. All proceeds from the event went support Village at Manor Park (VMP) Foundation’s Senior Solutions Fund. This fund positively impacts the quality of care and increases the number of healthcare professionals with knowledgeable care for the elderly. Students from MUSoD and MCW receive hands-on education and training while working with residents and staff at VMP Manor Park. This year, checks for $10,000 were donated by VMP Foundation to each school in support of student training in senior care. (WOW!!) In addition, the Active Seniors Fund benefits thousands of active seniors who demonstrate a “never-give-up-attitude”. They are enjoying better health and better quality of life - living by the VMP motto “You’re Never Too Old To Play”.
We look forward to continuing to build this event and *hopefully* bring the Caduceus Cup home next year!