In our past interviews with former Cats in the minor leagues, the players tell us of their long bus rides and quick meals. The story of former Kentucky Pitcher Logan Darnell’s career is not much different but for one much more difficult part. He has to be away for seven months from his mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Darnell is currently with the Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A Affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Despite being so far from his hometown of Nashville, Darnell made a big impact on the disease that has influenced his family. Darnell organized a jersey auction with the Red Wings. Jerseys designed and paid for by Darnell were worn by the team for Alzheimer’s Awareness Night and auctioned off during the game to benefit awareness in the Rochester Area. “I feel like having the platform of playing in Rochester gave me a good chance to do that and be successful at it,” said Darnell. “It meant a lot that my teammates where able to help and wear the jerseys in honor of people who are affected by the disease and my mother.”
— Rochester Red Wings (@RocRedWings) June 19, 2015
The disease has taken its toll on Darnell and his family since his mother, Caye, was diagnosed in 2012. “The biggest impact is definitely on my dad and brother with them always being home and having to keep tabs on her,” said Darnell. “For me, it’s being gone for seven months and coming back to see the changes she has had since the last time I saw her.” His mother is no longer able to travel to see her son pitch, which is difficult with him making his pro debut last year and being promoted to Minnesota periodically. While he has been in Rochester this year, he grew a bond with the community that led him to connect with the Rochester Alzheimer’s Association and put his plan of raising money into action.
The impact that Alzheimer’s has had on his family led Darnell to put together Alzheimer’s Awareness Night in Rochester. The 26-year old paid for each jersey’s production and design before they were to be auctioned off during the Red Wings’ game against the Louisville Bats on June 19th. Caye was not able to make the trip to Rochester for the special night, but Darnell’s father was on hand to see the event. Rob Darnell threw out the first pitch, with his son as catcher to begin the night.
The jersey auction was a huge success. Darnell had a goal of 5,000 dollars in donations in mind, but that goal was surpassed when the team helped to raise over 7,000 dollars. Darnell’s jersey was bought for 650 dollars, but was donated back to Darnell and his family. Former Kentucky star Alex Meyer’s father donated 500 dollars, along with former Chicago Cubs’ Manager and current Red Wings’ coach Mike Quade donating $500. “I was proud and humbled by how much we were able to raise and help the local chapter in the Finger Lakes, the whole night was a success,” said Darnell.
Following the Red Wings’ 7-3 win, Darnell addressed the fans in attendance and thanked them for their contribution while declaring Rochester as his “second home”. The night was special for Darnell and for the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
— AlzRochesterNY (@AlzRochesterNY) June 20, 2015
Darnell is optimistic about the donations and finding a cure for the disease. ” It’s a tough disease because the mind slips away while the body is perfectly healthy and it’s very expensive to treat and house patients, so helping and funding is critical,” said Darnell. “It is a disease that is very close to being cured and within the next 20 years they are thought to have a cure, so of course donations are great.” Darnell and his family have persevered through this difficult time and have been proactive about his mother’s diagnosis. “Through prayers and learning about the disease we have used our faith to know that God is in control and it will be OK in the end,” said Darnell. “We just try and control what we can and try and make the best of every situation.”
Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Darnell family as Caye fights her battle. Want to help the Rochester Alzheimer’s Association? Join or donate here.