‘Butch’s Braves’ top fundraisers for Purplestride

Published 1:42 am Saturday, March 1, 2014

Some of the almost 60 members of Butch’s Braves warm up for last weekend’s Purplestride 5K in Birmingham.

Some of the almost 60 members of Butch’s Braves warm up for last weekend’s Purplestride 5K in Birmingham.

Less than a year after they lost their husband, father, brother, boss and friend, a team of Butch Youmans’ family and friends formed “Butch’s Braves” and raised more than $11,340 for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Purplestride 5K in Birmingham.

Competing last weekend, Butch’s Braves had the largest of the 51 participating teams and raised the most money. His wife, Donna, shared his story on her fundraising page for Purplestride.

“When my husband, Butch Youmans, developed back pain in November of 2011, never in our worst nightmares could we have imagined the path our lives were about to take,” she wrote. “On December 10th, fighting through the pain, he hosted his company Christmas party. The next day Butch was hospitalized with a diagnosis of pancreatitis. Then on February 6, 2012, our worst fears were confirmed: pancreatic cancer, inoperable, stage 3.

“After the initial shock wore off, Butch, along with family and numerous friends, began the BRAVE fight for his life,” Mrs. Youmans recalled. “Though sick from chemo and medication, Butch fought through and traveled to our son Spencer’s college baseball games, missing only a few all season. Sometimes he would have to watch from the car or walk to fight the pain.

“Then in early May, shortly after the last game, things took a turn for the worse,” she recalled. “The cancer was spreading and with family and friends by his side, Butch passed away on May 25, 2013. This was just two short weeks before he was to fulfill his lifelong dream of walking our daughter, Savannah, down the aisle on her wedding day. He had been so excited to have the daddy-daughter dance with her and teased her about what “moves” he might perform! Sadly, he wasn’t there in person, but his spirit surrounded us just like it will when Spencer plays his senior year of college baseball in the spring! “

Youmans, who founded Paulk Grocery Co. in Opp, was 53 when he lost his 18-month battle.

His sister, Renee Youmans Anderson, said most of the Braves who joined the Purplestride team were close friends of the family or Paulk Grocery employees.

“In the fall we sold wristbands, head bands, pins, and T-shirts, and raised $1,600 doing that,” she said. “That was huge to be able to do that. Then, everybody who went to the even paid a $25 registration fee. It all goes to pancreatic cancer research.”

“Butch’s family wants to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to the team members, local businesses, and dear family and friends,” Anderson said. “November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness month and our hope is to organize a 5K locally to help promote awareness of this terrible disease and to raise additional money to continue funding pancreatic cancer research.”