Section: Capital Region,  Page: D2

Date: Thursday, June 9, 2011

ALBANY -- Derek Murphy, a 10-year-old boy with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, has inspired a local weekly newspaper editor to organize a charity softball event with proceeds benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association. MDA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy and related diseases by funding research and providing health care and support services along with advocacy and education.

Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder that weakens voluntary muscles over time.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, June 16, a charity softball game will feature the Albany Dutchmen and Spotlight staffers, employees of other media outlets and several community members at the Plumeri Sports Complex at Frisbie and McCarty avenues. Admission is $5.

The idea for a charity softball game to help fund MDA had a lot to do with Spotlight managing editor Bill DeVoe's brother, Dan DeVoe, a member of a letter carriers union who knew of Derek as the nephew of a fellow letter carriers union member. After hearing Derek's story, Bill DeVoe looked for a way to help, and the Derek Murphy MVP for MDA Game was created.

"Derek Murphy is a huge sports fan," said DeVoe, adding he and his staff are fans of the Albany Dutchmen.

Last year, with the Murphy family in the stands, Derek threw the ceremonial first pitch of the game. The event raised about $1,100.

As for this month's goal, DeVoe said, "We're on a good clip to double last year."

For John Murphy, Derek's father, "It's very rewarding to know that he is thought of. Funding for research is much needed."

For DeVoe, the efforts to help Derek hit home.

"I'm a father of two," said DeVoe. "I would like to think that a newspaper, somebody, would sponsor an event if my kids ever needed help."

During the game there will be a 50/50 raffle. Prizes include children's items, sporting equipment and Dutchman apparel.

"We're appreciative for all the participants," said Murphy.

The event and playing with the Albany Dutchmen is a special time for every involved.

"The Dutchmen are Division 1," said DeVoe. "That makes us feel like all-stars."

Nicole Monsees is a Times Union intern. Reach her at 454-5007 or

Diamond Dutchmen

What: Derek Murphy MVP for MDA Game between the Albany Dutchmen and a team from the Spotlight Newspapers

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, June 16

Where: Plumeri Sports Complex, Frisbie and McCarty avenues, Albany

Donation: $5 admission.

Contact: 439-4949, Ext. 416