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Verdigris Community Rallies Behind Family After Spring Break Nightmare

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VERDIGRIS, Oklahoma -

A Green Country community is rallying behind one of its own after a father falls dangerously ill at his son's baseball tournament in Arizona.

It was a spring break trip that turned into a medical nightmare.

Baseball is in Riley Keizor's blood.

He's played the game his whole life and his biggest fan, his dad, Jerry, has always watched from the stands.

"My dad loves me to death," Keizor said. "He's been everywhere with me. He goes to pretty much all the tournaments that he can."

When Keizor flew out to Arizona for a tournament with the Verdigris High School baseball team, his mom and dad did, too.

But, he said, the trip seemed to be doomed from the start.

"I flew out with the team," Keizor said. "My parents were supposed to take a flight at the same time, and it got delayed and hour to Dallas, and then flight from Dallas to Phoenix got canceled."

His parents did finally make it, but their luggage didn't.

And then Keizor said there was a fire in his mom and dad's hotel room.

"The iron blew up and caught the ironing board on fire and caught the iron on fire," Keizor said.

But if you can believe it, it got worse from there.

During the first game, Jerry wasn't feeling well, so sat in the car.

And by the second game, he left for the emergency room.

"I knew something was wrong because he wasn't there," Keizor said.

As Keizor's dad was headed to the hospital, Keizor was on the ball field where he took a ball to the face. He finished the game, but when it was over, he ended up in the ER right beside his dad.

"Me and my dad [were] in the emergency room side-by-side," Keizor said. "They said ‘your nose is broke, here's a plastic surgeon, see ya later.' They told dad they was admitting him to ICU and he'll probably be there for a while.

Jerry's kidneys were deteriorating because of pancreatitis.

Keizor said his dad needed to get back home where he'd have the support of family and friends.

Keizor's insurance covered some of his hospital bills, but not the $16,000 medical flight back Oklahoma.

So to ease the financial burden, Verdigris assistant baseball coach Scott Smith said the entire community has rallied behind the Keizors.

"It's tough on him," Smith said. "I think he and his mom are both overwhelmed by the generosity of our community and the people that we don't even know."

The team has set up a fundraising campaign and Smith said there's already an anonymous donor who has pledged to match all donations up to $5,000.

"This is our family, and this is what we do," Smith said.

The younger Keizor said it has been nothing short of an inspiration.

"It's very amazing to me," he said. "I truly love my community and it really means a lot to me what they have done."

He said his dad is at a Tulsa hospital and his condition is getting better.

An account has been set up at BancFirst under The Keizor Family Benefit Fund.

The team has also set up an account through FundRazr. You can reach that account by clicking here.

Between the two, more than $2,000 has been raised.


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