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Baseball team gives away free funeral as essay competition prize

The prize was given to a fan with motor neurone disease.

Kevin Reichel, left, of Reichel Funeral Home, watches along with Steve Paul and his daughter Robyn Paul as Lindsey Knupp reads the winning essay
Kevin Reichel, left, of Reichel Funeral Home, watches along with Steve Paul and his daughter Robyn Paul as Lindsey Knupp reads the winning essay
Image: (AP Photo/The Express-Times, Bill Adams)

A MINOR LEAGUE baseball team in Philadelphia has given a free funeral to a fan after he won a competition.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs gave the $10,000 prize to a 64-year-old man who had recently been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Steve Paul of Freemansburg got a standing ovation as he was wheeled onto the field and announced as the recipient of the funeral package.

Fans had to submit a 200-word essay describing their ideal funeral, and explain why they deserved a free one. More than 50 essays were submitted.

Paul wrote an essay explaining that he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (also known as ALS and Lou Gehrig’s disease) in June.

It’s a progressive nerve disease that typically leads to paralysis and death.

Paul wrote:

The disease is racing, as my family must watch the strength, energy and life quickly drain from my body. No one was prepared, emotionally or financially, for the loss or to prepare a final memorial.

The team came up with the unusual promotion for one of its sponsors, a nearby funeral home.

The funeral package comes with a casket, embalming or cremation, hearse, headstone, flowers and a funeral or memorial service.

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Associated Press

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