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Whiteville community rallies around boy burned in fire explosion, holds home run derby fundraiser

Published: Jul. 18, 2021 at 10:24 PM EDT
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WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) - Those in Whiteville have rallied around Tabitha Ezzell and her son, Ryder.

“I can’t explain how thankful we are for our community,” said Ezzell. “They have went above and beyond for us.”

A community helping one pitch at a time.

“The Columbus County softball league, we’ve come together to decide to do a homerun derby for Ryder Faircloth, the child that was burned in an accident a month ago,” said participant Justin Floyd.

The seven-year-old boy was burned the first weekend of July after an aerosol can exploded in a trash fire.

Ryder was recently released from the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill and was able to watch the fundraiser with his own eyes, something his mother didn’t think would happen.

“Everyone has prayed for him,” said Ezzell. “The doctors expected him to be in there for a month or more, but he was in there for 11 days.”

All proceeds from the fundraiser went directly to Ryder’s family to help pay for medical bills.

“We’re very supportive of each other,” said Floyd. “It’s just something we could do as men to get everybody out here together and get a little bit of money to raise for the family.”

The home run derby included an entry fee to watch and participate, and there was even a man donating money for every home run hit.

“There are still some good hearts out there, good people left out here,” said William Faircloth, Ryder’s uncle. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

While the road to recovery will be a long one for Ryder, his mother is grateful for the outpour of love and support from the community.

“It’s a blessing, it really is,” said Ezzell. “We’ve truly been blessed.”

A total of $2,500 was raised at the event.

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