Celebrity softball game helps fight childhood obesity

By Gregory Woods

CHARLESTON, S.C (WCIV) -- The gates of the Joe opened Saturday for an afternoon baseball game. But it wasn't the River Dogs who took the field. Teams Taco Boy and Well Fargo battled it out on the diamond, all to raise awareness for childhood obesity.

The third annual Slim Down the South Celebrity Softball Game raises money for Louie's Kids, a nonprofit aimed at battling the childhood obesity epidemic.

Louis Yuhasz, the nonprofit's founder, scored the winning run in Saturday's game proving that he's winning the fight both on and off the field.

For most families watching the game, it was another fun day at the ballpark complete with game day food fare - hot dogs and french fries.

But for Ashlyn Conway, 12, the day was a sign of a whole new ball game she's on her way to winning, thanks to Louie's Kids.

"When I was little I was bullied a lot because I was always over weight. So I figured I'd just join Louie's Kids because I saw some posters around school," she said.

The nonprofit holds free workout sessions twice a week for kids at Hampton Park. The kids learn about nutrition, exercise and how to live healthy lifestyles.

"We're hoping to raise a lot of money for Louie's Kids but also raise awareness for the cause," said Andrea Felber, the nonprofit's director of grants. "We really want everyone to see that childhood obesity is an epidemic that we have the prevent and we can help these kids and show them that fitness is fun and being healthy is fun."

Ashlyn made the decision to lead a more healthy lifestyle one year and 40 pounds ago.{}

Patrick Conway, Ashlyn's father, said she no longer wears a size 22.

"The other day she could finally fit into a size 14. She's motivated her mom and myself. Now we go to workout with her," he said.

After months of hard work, Ashlyn now knows the importance of nutrition and is passing it along to her parents.

"Healthy food can be tasty," said Ashlyn's father. "We do a lot of chicken and turkey and we don't eat out a whole lot," he said.

Ashlyn's family said Louie's Kids has not helped her lose weight but also boost her confidence.

"I was always the awkward shy person," she said.

But Ashlyn isn't shy anymore.

She has a goal to run a 5K and thanks to Louie's Kids, she is well on her way to knocking that goal out of the park.

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