The sun was shining, music was blaring and red rubber balls were flying at the 10th annual kickball tournament benefiting Make-A-Wish® Colorado on Saturday, June 21st at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
Sixty teams from around the state came ready to play in Saturday’s tournament to help raise money for 3-year-old Nevaeh. Nevaeh was diagnosed with cancer of the connective tissues (rhabdomyosarcoma) and wished to go to the Walt Disney World® Resort to meet her favorite princesses. Tournament players raised an impressive $90,000 to grant Nevaeh’s wish!
Playing in the tournament and helping to raise money for Nevaeh’s wish hits close to home for one team in particular, a team put together by the family of a former wish kid, Stirling. Stirling, 10, was diagnosed with a heart condition and received his wish to go to the Walt Disney World® Resort when he was 3 years old in 2007.
“The trip to Disney World saved our family,” said Stirling’s mom, Liz. “The stress of having a sick kid breaks people down and for the week of the trip, we were able to relax and not worry. Just to see him laugh and play again was very special to us – you can’t do that when you’re in and out of the hospital all the time.”
The wish experience brought Stirling and his family back together. They were able to laugh together and forget about his illness for a change. Remembering back to those memories from the wish was the reason Liz and her husband, Justin, decided to put a team together for the kickball tournament and help other children like Stirling suffering from medical conditions.
This is their third year participating in the kickball tournament. Team “Kick it for Stirling,” raised $5,500 this year with the help of donors in the Fort Collins and Loveland areas.
“We do this to give back,” said Liz about why her family and friends play in the tournament. “We want to make sure families like ours can have their wishes granted because they really do help your situation and make your sick kids feel better.”
The kickball tournament is hosted by the Make-A-Wish Colorado Young Professionals, a group of Denver area professionals with a passion for granting wishes. The kickball tournament is one of the largest in the state as well as the nation.
“Planning the kickball tournament is something we all look forward to every year,” said Kari Coughlon, Make-A-Wish Colorado Young Professional Co-Chair. “We are thankful to have amazing team participation and it’s great to hear that wish families are also involved and giving back to help other families.”
Interested in joining the Young Professionals? Call 303-750-9474 for more information and stay tuned for more information on next year’s kickball tournament.