Softball Tournament Raises Money For Kids’ Wheelchair Sports

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RAHWAY – For the past fifteen years, the “Annual Lehrer-Gibilisco Benefit Softball Tournament” for Children’s Specialized Hospital has raised money to support the “Lightning Wheels” athletic team.

Playing according to American Association of Softball and Rahway Men’s Slow-Pitch rules, teams will compete on Saturday, Aug. 27, starting at 9 a.m. at Rahway River Park, St. Georges Avenue, at softball diamonds 1 through 5.


Joseph Gibilisco, owner/manager of The Lehrer-Gibilisco Funeral Home in Rahway, began the event 16 years ago with event organizer Darren Lesinski. “We are trying to exceed last year’s total for the kids,” said Gibilisco. “This is an event that showcases our commitment to helping children achieve their best at all times.”

James M. Zwiebel, co-event organizer, said, “Everyone involved gets as much satisfaction and pleasures out of this tournament as the kids do.”

Children’s Specialized Hospital, with locations in Mountainside, Fanwood and Toms River, is the largest pediatric rehabilitation hospital in the United States. The affiliate in Mountainside offers a wide range of medical, developmental, educational and rehabilitative services for infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

“Lightning Wheels” is a wheelchair athletic team for children ages 5 to 21 that compete at local, regional and national events. Money raised from the 16th Annual Lehrer-Gibilisco Benefit Softball Tournament will go directly to support the activities of the team.

Corporate sponsorship is essential to the success of the event, according to Gibilisco. The Lehrer-Gibilisco Funeral Home donates all trophies, prizes, shirts, hats and the picnic, so all other proceeds from the corporate sponsors goes directly to the “Lightning Wheels” kids.

The tournament has grown tremendously during the years, explained Lesinski. “It’s been a great opportunity to help the kids; they have such a great attitude about everything.”

Corporate sponsors are invited to contact Gibilisco at 1-732-388-1874 or Lesinski at 1-973-906- 1951. Donations from community members are also welcome.

(1st row left to right:) Caitlin Goerlich, Chelsea Crytzer, Bridgette Wise, Lynne Ganley, all athletes of the Children’s Specialized Hospital “Lightning Wheels” who attended the 15th Annual Lehrer-Gibilisco Funeral Home Benefit Softball Tournament last year. (2nd row left to right:) Darren Lesinski Event Organizer, Trisha Yurochko, Coach Maria Weinstein- Assistant VP/Branch Manager of the Northfield Bank, Joseph D. Gibilisco founder of the Tournament and Manger of the Lehrer-Gibilisco Funeral Home and Jim Zwiebel Co-Organizer

Caitlin Goerlich, one of the athletes for the Children’s Specialized Hospital “Lightning Wheels” Team, threw out the first ceremonial pitch to Jim Zwiebel that signaled the start the games at the 15th Annual Lehrer-Gibilisco Funeral Home Benefit Softball Tournament that was held at Rahway River Park last year as two of the participating teams and the umpires look on.

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