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Let’s play ball: Community remembers Laken

Photo by WAHL Photography Eight-year-old Laken Lumpkin died as a result of injuries sustained during a golf cart accident in 2008.  According to her father,  Alan Lumpkin, Laken loved playing all types sports. Her family created the Playin’ for Laken foundation to honor her memory and help other families in need.

Photo by WAHL Photography
Eight-year-old Laken Lumpkin died as a result of injuries sustained during a golf cart accident in 2008. According to her father, Alan Lumpkin, Laken loved playing all types sports. Her family created the Playin’ for Laken foundation to honor her memory and help other families in need.

One Pearl River County family has turned their personal tragedy not only into a yearly community remembrance of their daughter, but have also provided a way for other families to cope with their own personal adversities.

On July 23, 2008, 8-year-old Laken Brooke Lumpkin died from injuries sustained in a golf-cart accident.

After her death, Laken’s parents, Alan and Melissa Lumpkin, created the Playin’ for Laken Foundation to honor her memory.

“The Pearl River County community came together and organized a co-ed softball tournament to help our family with medical and funeral expenses,” Alan Lumpkin said. “We used the remaining funds to create the foundation.”

The mission of the foundation is to honor God and remember Laken as the foundation helps others through tough times in their lives, Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin said Laken was a beautiful, blue-eyed blond girl who enjoyed spending time with her family, excelling academically and most of all loved playing a variety of sports.

Laken enjoyed dancing and playing softball, golf and basketball, Lumpkin said.

For the past seven years, the Playin’ for Laken foundation has hosted a co-ed softball and cabbage ball tournament, Lumpkin said.

According to Lumpkin, the funds raised from the tournaments are used to provide financial, spiritual and emotional support to families experiencing similar losses.

“The foundation provides monetary support to families who have lost children due to tragic accidents,” Lumpkin said. “Every Christmas we adopt a needy family with an 8-year-old girl and purchase gifts for her and her siblings.”

The foundation also sponsors a scholarship for young women graduating from the three high schools in Pearl River County, Lumpkin said. Lastly, the foundation contributes to community youth leagues to cover the costs of registration fees and equipment fees for needy children so they can participate in the activities.

This year’s tournament will be held on Saturday Oct. 20 at Friendship Park in Picayune.

There will be an open co-ed division tournament for competitive teams, Lumpkin said, and a co-ed cabbage ball division tournament for family and church teams. The entry fee is $200.

Lumpkin said that last year about 12-15 teams participated in the event and the foundation has about 30 corporate sponsors.

There are three sponsorship levels for corporations:

  • Double level costs $150 and includes a 3 x 5 entrance sign.
  • Triple level costs $300 for a 4 x 8 entrance sign.
  • Homerun level costs $500 and includes a 4 x 8 entrance sign and the corporation’s name printed on back of Playin’ for Laken foundation tournament t-shirts.

“The tournament is a lot of fun and a great event,” Lumpkin said. “Laken enjoyed participating in league play and tournaments.”

For more information on the tournament, the foundation and team entry, contact Lumpkin at 601-569-0318.

Visit the Playin’ for Laken event page on Facebook.