Saturday, July 25, 2009

Please help support a great Charity: The Travis Roy Foundation


Kevin pitching at 'mini-Fenway'

Last year I became involved in a great charity, the Travis Roy Foundation. Mario Fontana, who helped me coach in the South End Baseball League, invited me to come up to Vermont for their big annual fundraiser. It was the most fun I've ever had at a fundraising event: a weekend competitive charity whiffle ball tournament!

Many of you will remember Travis Roy who tragically had a spinal injury 11 seconds into his first shift playing for the BU hockey team. Since that time he has become a motivational speaker and dedicated himself to helping others like himself and to try and find a cure for spinal cord injuries.

A generous family in Vermont has built a replica of both Fenway Park and Wrigley Field in their backyard to 'whiffle ball' dimensions. 24 teams from around New England and NY gather to raise money and battle for whiffle supremacy. Last year I was placed on a team whose pitcher could not make the tournament, and despite not having played whiffle ball in almost 30 years, I pitched every inning on the way to a 2-1 record with our only loss to the eventual champions. I could barely walk for 2 days afterward, but it was a great, uplifting and worthwhile event.

Stars such as Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee came by to pitch the home run derby, and many people donate items for auction, their time and their money to help raise money for the Travis Roy Foundation. This year we hope to set a new record, and we even are having NESN come and do a piece.

I was most inspired by Travis Roy himself, who hasn't lost his sense of humor or his sense of perspective. The winner of each year's tournament gets their name inscribed on a granite stone and he was told that we would need a new granite stone soon and he was asked for his input on type and size. He said "I don't want another stone, I want this tournament to end because we've found a cure and I can get out of this damn wheelchair!" He got a huge round of applause for his speech and many have been inspired to raise even more this year.

Some information:

Talking Points
* Travis is the Boston U hockey player who was paralyzed 11 seconds into his first college shift in 1995
* Foundation started in 1997. Half the money goes to spinal cord injury survivors [ramps, wheelchairs, bathroom modifications, etc], half goes to research for a cure.
* Over $3 million distributed by Foundation since inception
* Wiffle ball tournament started in 2002 and is entering its 8th year.
* Nearly $500,000 raised in 7 years, including over $180,000 last year
* By far, it's now the Foundation's largest fundraising event each year
* NESN will be there this year to film a special to air later this year.
* 24 teams, 250+ players mostly from New England & New York. Our team has a player from France & one from Indiana
* Many teams have Boston ties. Examples: 1) Last year's champ, the Jack Hammers, are a team of high schoolers from Braintree 2) Boston Beef, last year's fundraising champ and the 2006 tourney champ, have played all 8 years and are run by one of the trustees at the Foundation 3) Boston Terriers, the 2007 fundraising champ 4) Comets Express, which won the tourney in 2004, was runner up twice, and won the fundraising title three times, is from Tyngsboro, MA near the NH border

Please consider donating. I have a goal of joining the top tier of fundraisers by getting 30 people to donate $30. You can send a check to me, or even easier please go online and donate:

http://www.travisroyfoundation.org/VT/donate.htm

You can scroll down to my team: Bananas for Travis Roy and link to my name, or just give a general donation.

Thanks for your generosity!

1 comment:

Rosanna said...

nice field i have a field named toots park