Lenape game at Skylands commemorates Nick Whilbourg Leukemia victim who loved baseball
Young Nick Whilbourg loved the game
By Laurie Gordon Augusta — Sure it's fun to go to different high school ball parks throughout the season to play games and it's great to be the home team at your field. But there's nothing quite like the thrill of playing in a big-time stadium. Home to the Skylands Minors, Skylands Stadium will host a very special baseball game next Thursday. The Nicholas Wihlborg Foundation and Lenape Valley High School baseball are joining forces on May 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Skylands Stadium in Augusta as Lenape Valley plays Madison. This will be a special night to honor the Lenape Valley High School seniors at the stadium. There will also be a performance by the award-winning Lenape Valley High School Marching Band. Above all, it will be an opportunity to support the Wihlborg foundation which was created in memory of a little boy who loved baseball. The Nicholas Wihlborg Foundation was created to continue the legacy of Nick Wihlborg, a Stanhope resident who passed away in November 2014 from T-cell ALL Leukemia. Since inception, the Foundation has been able to donate thousands of dollars to local families of children stricken with cancer, as well as fund a research grant created in Nick’s name that is dedicated to finding a cure for the particular strain of Leukemia he had. However, one of the things they are most proud of was sending a child to her Make-A-Wish trip through the Make-A-Wish Foundation in 2017. Lori Wihlborg, foundation treasurer and Nick’s mom said, “We truly enjoyed our Make-A-Wish trip to Disney with Nick. We were able to create lasting memories that all of us treasure. So for us to be able to pay that forward, through the generosity of our supporters, was very special for our family. Our community has continually supported our Foundation and mission to keep Nick’s legacy alive, and we could not be more grateful.” Nick loved sports but he was happiest when playing baseball with his friends and having his dad as a coach. He played for Lakeland Little League, who retired his number (# 8) when Nick passed and erected a monument in his honor. Nick would have been a sophomore at Lenape this year, and likely a big part of Lenape baseball. Coach Robert Klinck and the Lenape Valley Baseball program presented Nick with his Varsity letter when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, which Nick proudly displayed in his room. And each year, the Foundation sponsors a scholarship that is awarded to the senior baseball player that exemplifies teamwork, hard work and a positive attitude while more importantly, performing in the classroom. Partnering with the Lenape Valley High School program holds special significance for his father, Dave Wihlborg, who serves as President of the Foundation. “Nick loved baseball, and the times we spent together on the baseball diamond were special times for us,” he said. “Going to games is hard, but we really appreciate the fact that Lenape is playing a game in his name. It’s yet another way for everyone to remember and honor him, which is truly all we can ask for." Wihlbourg added, “Research funding for a cure for childhood cancers is four percent of the overall federal cancer funding budget. Four percent. This is why foundations are created, so we can supplement researchers with grants because it is not getting the attention and funding it deserves at a national level. Our supporters and events like this help us do our part in fighting childhood cancer so hopefully another family does not have the experience of what we went through.” To learn more about The Nicholas Wihlborg Foundation, go to their website www.nick8w.org and follow them on Facebook under Team Nick/The Nicholas Wihlborg Foundation. Admission will be $5 for the May 3 game at Skylands Stadium. Game time is 6:30 pm and Lakeland and Hobb Engler Little League teams are encouraged to wear their jerseys. The team with the most players wearing jerseys will win a prize. There will also be vendors, face painting and a concession stand.