Young baseball players spend day washing cars to raise money, honor life of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- They could have spent Saturday raising money for their own baseball teams, but instead, a group of young boys stepped up to give back to a family they don't even know.

Caleb Thomas Schwab

Caleb Thomas Schwab

Caleb Schwab, 10, was killed earlier this month while riding the Verrückt water slide at Schlitterbahn.

On Saturday, a group of boys the same age washed cars to help Caleb's family.

Robbie Thomas, 10, said, "We're washing cars for Caleb Schwab who lost his life at Schlitterbahn."

The name was more than a headline for two baseball teams: the Ascension Knights and the Ascension Legends. The teams are part of the Blue Valley Golden Glove league. Young Caleb played baseball for a team in the same league.

Caleb's death is something more than most kids can understand.

Robbie said, "I just couldn't think, if I just went on that really tall water slide, and I couldn't just think of dying." What he does comprehend is the desire to help Caleb's family. "I do think it makes them feel better because you know that their child is being known," Robbie said.

Dozens of boys from both teams washed cars in the parking lot of Meyer Music off 135th and Quivira. All of the money will go to the Caleb Schwab Memorial Fund.

Organizer Jill Welsh said, "We can't understand that magnitude of grief that their family is experiencing. It does hit home because we have 10-year-old boys, the same age, and it could've been any one of our boys on that raft."

Welsh said the car wash has been a good teaching tool. It's a way for parents to help their kids understand how giving back during unthinkable pain can be an avenue of healing.

"That helps in the healing process, knowing that people are there for you," Welsh said.

Robbie said, "I found out that we were doing this last Sunday so I was really excited to do it because I know that we get to wash cars. I've never done this before so it's really fun!"

The young boys enjoyed one another's company doing something new, but not a single one of them was unaware of the real reason they were out there.

"It's not for the money, it's just to do it for a good cause," Robbie said.

Organizers said they raised several hundred dollars before the car wash started. Their goal Saturday was to raise thousands for Caleb's family.

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