West Aurora baseball coach John Reeves and many other close family members and friends of the late Tony Kakoliris wanted to find a way to raise money for his son Paulie’s education fund.
Kakoliris, a coach and health teacher at West Aurora for 13 years, died in July after battling cancer.
“He has a large following here at the high school, people who had him in class, people he coached,” Reeves said. “He was pretty loved around here.”
The Anthony P. Kakoliris Memorial Fund was set up this summer to assist in funding the education of Paulie, who is seven years old. Sunday, West Aurora will host a benefit for the fund.
From 2-4 p.m. Sunday, the Blackhawks are hosing Bat For Kak at the West baseball fields. There will be chances for people to bat, three swings for $5, and there will be raffle prizes, a 50/50 raffle, food and more. Raffle tickets are $1 or six for $5. All of the money raised will go into the memorial fund.
Reeves said that raffle items continue to roll in as word of the event started to spread in the community. He said that there are more than 60 baskets of items and more are being added by the day.
“The whole idea behind it is to raise money for his son’s education fund,” Reeves said. “The idea of hitting, being out on the field; that was what he loved. He cared a lot about his son. His dad passed away when he was 10. His son is kind of in the same scenario.”
Kakoliris, a DeKalb native, coached at every level of baseball at West Aurora. This past season, despite battling Stage 4 cancer, Kakoliris spent his first season on the varsity coaching staff as the pitching coach. He started at West the same year that Reeves did.
Reeves has also been selling Bat For Kak T-shirts for $10 outside of the Activities Office this week and said that people have been stopping by and purchasing them every day.
DeKalb and West Aurora play a nonconference game against each other every spring. There are talks to dedicate the game to Kakoliris.
“We want to dedicate it to him until Paulie is playing the game,” Reeves said.
Reeves said that making Sunday’s event an annual affair has also been discussed.