The Sonoma Stompers will host Colon Cancer Awareness Night on July 5 against the Napa Silverados, but that’s not the whole story.

The event was spurred by a message from Casey Thornhill, a colon cancer survivor and an assistant pricipal at Elsie Allen High. The 40-year-old single father’s lifelong dream was to pitch professionally, and he wanted a chance to play an inning for the Stompers.

Although a promising college player who was injured in his first at-bat trying out for an independent team, Thornhill opted to return to school at SSU and “let the dream of playing professionally pass me by.”

Then Thornhill was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer last July and had to undergo an emergency surgery.

Just two weeks post-op, Thornhill completed the Santa Rosa half-marathon and pitched a complete game in the Redwood Empire Baseball League while on chemotherapy in September.

Thornhill finished chemotherapy in March and is now cancer-free. He reached out to the Stompers this spring to aid with a cancer fundraiser by fulfilling that dream, of pitching an inning of professional baseball.

“I wanted to find a way to combine my love of baseball with a fundraiser that would benefit people who need help going through what I’ve gone through,” he said.

The July 5 event will benefit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, which supports the needs of patients and families, caregivers and survivors to raise awareness of preventive screening and fund critical research. Former San Francisco Giants pitcher Noah Lowry will also join the festivities, signing autographs and supporting the cause.

The event will also feature raffles with several enticing prizes, including a Mark Melancon signed baseball, a $50 gift card for Maya restaurant on the Plaza and gift baskets from local Sonoma businesses.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are available at the box office or online at stompersbaseball.com.