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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Second annual softball tourney Oct. 21 at URI

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

Second annual softball tourney Oct. 21 at URI
honors fraternity president’s late father
Event will benefit fight against lung, liver disease caused by Alpha-1

KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 10, 2006 -- Josh Ratner, president of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Rhode Island, is honoring the memory of his late father with the second annual Runs for Lungs Softball Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 21.

With 21 teams already registered to play and several more expected, Ratner hopes the tournament will raise $10,000 for the Alpha-1 Foundation, a national group that advocates for the fight against Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a genetic form of lung disease that Ratner’s father, Michael, died from in 2005. The foundation says that one in every 2,500 people is born with the condition.

The tournament will be held on the intramural fields on the URI Kingston campus from noon to 4 p.m. While most of the participants will be from the University’s Greek system, other teams from URI and the community are also organizing teams. Each team will raise money through pledges that will be calculated by the number of runs the team scores.

Ratner, a resident of River Vale, N.J., said the event is being held in collaboration with the fraternities’ and sororities’ Philanthropy Week events. “Phi Kappa Psi wanted to run an event to bring the whole Greek system at URI together for one cause,” he said. “It was so successful last year that we decided to do it again. And it will shed light on a condition that is relatively unknown.”

The Alpha-1 Foundation says the condition is passed from parents to their children through their genes. The condition may result in serious lung and/or liver disease. There may be up to 100,000 people living with Alpha-1 in the United States.

“There is no cure for the condition, only treatment,” said Ratner, a history and education major.

The URI chapter of Phi Kappa Psi has been a part of the campus for more than 40 years. It has more than 1,000 members and one of the largest scholarship funds in the country. One of its founding missions was serving and helping others.

Those interested in participating in the softball tournament can contact Ratner at 201-214-9389 or