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A Thanksgiving Story

Patrick Quinn died Sunday at age 37 after a seven-year battle with ALS. He was a brave man- you have to be brave when you have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease).

The degenerative neuromuscular disease eventually robs its host of nearly every bodily ability, even swallowing. But the disease leaves the mind intact.

And Patrick used his mind to the utmost. He is credited with co-creating along with two other ALS sufferers, the hugely popular Ice Bucket Challenge  which in 2014 raised $220 million for the ALS Association.  If you’ll remember, people, including many celebrities, took selfies being doused with buckets of ice water and challenged their friends to do the same.

That funding allowed the Association to make important advances for treatments for ALS, in eye movement communication technology and helping patients and their families cope with the disease. Many lives have been made better because of the efforts of Patrick and his friends.

These advances have allowed what Patrick called “a new sense of hope”.

So, what does this story have to do with Thanksgiving?

Well isn’t hope really the unheralded twin of gratitude?

When we give thanks for what we have today, is there not an implied hope for tomorrow?

However you choose to celebrate, we at sportingAcause wish you a safe and thankful day.

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Transparency

Entry Fee:  $40.

What you get:  running jacket, winter hat,  participation medallion.

Portion of entry fee to charity:  $ 0.

You may have noticed the explosion of  Virtual Runs on Facebook lately, but not all of them are what they seem. Some of them are local races supporting local causes that have turned virtual because of the pandemic. I have many of them here on sportingAcause.com.

But a huge wave of what I call manufactured events have washed ashore with names like Smashed Santa Races, Wine Run Turkey Trot, Run for the Dogs, Face Mask Run and the one described above- America’s Turkey Trot.

These “fundraiser” virtual races provide a lesson in Buyer Beware.

America’s Turkey Trot, for example, has partnered with Feeding America, a nation-wide hunger charity, but the word “partner” is open to interpretation.

Although America’s Turkey Trot boasts Feeding America as a partner, no money from your entry fee will go to the charity. Instead, when you register (and pay), you will be encouraged to write your own check to support the work of Feeding America. Not quite what you thought, right?

Is this illegal? – no.

Is it unethical? – um…

Is it transparent? Absolutely not!

To be fair, probably some  will write an additional check to Feeding America, and that’s a good thing.

But the takeaway here is that if a virtual “fundraiser” event does not tell you exactly how much of your money is benefiting whom,  then sign up for a local event instead, one that maybe supports a food bank in your town, one that tells you how much of your entry fee goes to help your neighbors.

Now that’s transparency!

 

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“The Times They Are A- Changin”

“The Times They Are A- Changin” Bob Dylan sang almost 60 years ago, and they are A-Changin still. Because of the pandemic, many of our most cherished non-profits have been forced to cancel crucial fundraisers. At sportingAcause.com some of those charities have devised alternative events to try to recapture some of what they lost to COVID-19.

Here are two very worthy local non-profits who are holding raffle-style fundraisers- Sunday In The Country Food Drive which provides 600 holiday turkey dinners to deserving residents in tri-state towns, and the Salisbury Rotary Club which helps out local food banks, provides COVID assistance and scholarships to Region 1 students.

Here are the details for both:

The Sunday in the Country Food Drive will pull the lucky numbers on November 1st for these great prizes:

$100 gift certificates to Daisy Hill Farm, North East Muffler, Herrington’s, and Silamar Farm Market.  And $200 gift certificates to Taylor Oil, 52 Main, and Black Rabbit Bar and Grille. Also up for grabs is a Thanksgiving dinner worth $200 from McEnroe Organic and a handmade Star throw quilt by Krista McGhee.

Tickets cost $10 each or six for $50. You can buy them at Herrington’s, 52 Main and the Black Rabbit Bar and Grille, or call Bill Anstett at 845 206-5938.

The Salisbury Rotary Club offers a winner-take-all $10,000 prize which will be drawn on November 17th. Only 2500 tickets will be sold. You can buy yours for $10 each one of two ways: Either send a check made out to Salisbury Rotary Club Foundation and mail it to Peter Fitting, P.O. Box 646, Salisbury, CT 06068, or go to https://www.salisburyctrotary.org/, click on the “Donate” button UNDER the “$10,000 Cash Raffle” heading. Be sure to click on the “cash raffle” option.

For more information call Rotary President Peter Fitting at 860 672-5709.

Please support these fundraisers if you are able. Their ability to do their good work in our neighborhoods depends on it. As Dylan also sang “If Not For You”…

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They call it “food insecurity”

They call it “food insecurity” these days.

I don’t like that.

It makes it sound less tragic than what it really is: Hunger-  stomach- rumbling, one-meal-a-day hunger. The hunger crisis was already bad enough, but the pandemic has made it worse. Much worse.

Thank God there are organizations to address this plight. The Corner Food Pantry in Lakeville is one of them. It serves people from Pawling, NY to Torrington, CT without turning anyone away.

They are quick to tell you that they are blessed with generous donors who help keep the doors open, but the need grows. The Pantry serves 75 to 100 families (around 400 people) a week, and those ranks have been growing by one or two families every week.

The Little Guild in West Cornwall takes care of our furry population. They are a no-kill facility that rescues, nurtures and finds forever homes for dogs and cats. Like the Corner Pantry, The Little Guild has loyal supporters, but although adoptions are up, donations are down, the pet food pantry is dwindling. The Guild’s biggest fundraiser, the Run and Wag 5K  has turned virtual this year. We’ll see how that goes.

But today (Saturday) several huge-hearted organizations got together to run a food drive for both the Corner Pantry and the Little Guild. The Tri-State Chamber of Commerce, Salisbury Bank & Trust, NW CT Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Lime Rock Park Catering and Salisbury Rotary joined forces to run a Donation Drive at the Lakeville Methodist Church. These are both businesses that give year round to their communities and non-profits that could probably use some help themselves. But today their efforts went to help others. And help they did. Tina Hogan from the Alzheimer’s Association told me the Drive was a “Great Success”.

Thank you all for what you do!

 

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I Missed the Point

I have blogged often about the large crowds that turn out for the many “Walk” fundraisers in the Tri-State area. Those throngs are a testament to the dedication of so many who support the fight against the plagues on humanity like Alzheimer’s, ALS, hunger, suicide and many more- too many more.
But I’ve missed the point. The true value here is not in the crowds that walk for these causes but in the individuals.
You see, each individual in that crowd is a fundraiser. For reasons of their own – often they’ve lost a loved one to a disease, they labor for months before the first step of the Walk. They solicit friends, family, neighbors and coworkers for pledges. They set up fundraising pages to reach a wider audience. Each person’s devotion to the cause is the reason for the success of the Walk, and their aggregate can add up to stunning financial results.
Here are some of those folks who are fundraising for their causes along with links to their fundraising pages. If you have the ability to help any or all of these causes, bless your heart! You will not only be participating in worthy causes, you will be helping to bolster the resolve of these good people in their efforts.
Nicole Roy is raising money for the ALS Foundation . Nicole Roy and Team Roy have participated for eight years in the Ride to Defeat ALS . Nicole lost her father Paul to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Her link is https://www.facebook.com/donate/1191671207873585/10219707843141627/.
Marlane White and Tina Hogan are both deeply involved in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Not only will they be walking , they have worked tirelessly to organize the event . Its success will be due largely to their efforts.
Thomas Sherwood is walking with Team Joey in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Thomas lost his brother Joey to suicide. You can find his fundraiser at https://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/Thomas-Sherwood.
And Amy Truax will be walking in the Northwest CT CROP Hunger Walk which will be held virtually this year. Without the energy and connection that comes with a “live” event, it will be all the more important to support individuals like Amy to make these virtual Walks successful. Amy’s link is https://www.crophungerwalk.org/falls…/SheffieldAshleyFalls.
To find details about these and other worthy sports-related fundraisers visit http://sportingacause.com/ .
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The crisis has gotten worse

In the past six months the crisis has gotten worse. In that time deaths have increased 18% in Connecticut according to Hartford HealthCare, and I can’t believe it’s much better elsewhere.

Over 130 people a day are dying  in America from the crisis.

No, I’m not talking about the Covid-19 pandemic- that’s today’s crisis. This is the Opioid Overdose crisis- you remember, the one that filled daily newspapers  just a few short months ago with stories of loved ones lost to the scourge and countless reports about collaborations among law enforcement, civic and private organizations scrambling for ways to stem the overdose tide.

It was the most important issue of the day.

But that was yesterday. In March we shifted crises. Since then Covid has replaced Opioid as the operative word, and nary a piece will you read about opioid overdoses.  It’s as if our attention spans can’t juggle simultaneous traumas.

Monday, Aug 31st was International Overdose Awareness Day and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time to remind us that the other crisis is still very much with us. Hundreds of pairs of shoes will dangle from the Burrand Bridge in Vancouver, left by loved ones of overdose deaths.

And to symbolize their losses hundreds more would have clamped Love Locks onto a special gate during the Matt Herring Foundation’s Overdose Awareness Walk on Poughkeepsie’s Walkway Over the Hudson (sadly canceled this year due to the pandemic along with many others on sportingAcause.com).

The International Overdose Awareness Day reminds us that nearly 70,000 people in America, mostly young, die every year from overdoses.

But that was Monday’s reminder. What about tomorrow?

 

 

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Lou Gehrig’s Disease

I don’t think there is a more devastating illness than ALS  (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). This neurodegenerative treachery  robs its victims of muscular control. First it limits and then eliminates leg and hand movements, then finally it impedes the ability to swallow and breath. But it leaves the mind intact- fully aware of its body’s condition.

ALS affects the sufferers’ family/caregivers as well. It levies a ponderous emotional and financial toll. Once diagnosed, the average lifespan for someone with ALS is two to five years. It is always fatal.

Organizations like the ALS Foundation are working to support ALS sufferers and their families while also funding research for treatments and a cure.

For the past eight years Nicole Roy and Team Roy have participated in the Ride to Defeat ALS to raise much-needed funds for the ALS Foundation. She lost her father Paul to ALS over 20 years ago. He was a great man and a good friend of mine whose smile was infectious. As I’ve said in a previous blog , smiling may be the bravest thing you can do when you have ALS.

Nicole is looking for your support to help raise money for the ALS Foundation. If you are able to give, please go here to donate: :https://www.facebook.com/donate/1191671207873585/10219707843141627/.

And as Nicole says “Every little bit helps”.

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Golf Tournament Fundraisers- With A Difference

The list grows longer of golf tournament fundraisers that have decided to give it a try this year. But they will not look the same as they did way back in 2019.

Courses are scrambling to find ways to keep these gatherings safe without , well, gathering. The good news is that once golfers are out on the course and playing  they can easily distance from one another. The bad news is there are bottlenecks  during the process when golfers tend to bunch up, like during registration, buying raffle tickets, waiting for tee assignments, lunch, awards and raffle drawings and dinner.

But golf courses are coming up with solutions to these challenges. At Undermountain Golf Course, for example, registration and payment will be done on-line in advance of tournament day, the raffle will be restricted to a 50/50 rather than a prolonged drawing and dinner is likely to be “to go”. Participants will be limited to 72 golfers for a two-flight tournament.

Over at Fair View Farm Golf Course in Harwinton, one of their upcoming tournaments will have an on line silent auction and raffle, dinner will be replaced by a gift certificate for a free round of golf and registration will be limited to 100 golfers.

At Undermountain, rather than waiting in a group for tee assignments, foursomes will be given their starting hole, and they will go straight to their tee – no hanging around the club house, and lunch will be a boxed meal at the turn.

Masks and distancing are always  in order, but of course, all of these best-laid plans are subject to change.

Here is the latest batch of tournaments to weigh in:

Torrington Little League Golf Tournament, Aug. 14th,   Fairview Farm Golf Course

Sheffield Fire Co. Golf Tournament, Aug. 14, Copake Country Club

Fore Autism Charity Golf Tournament, Aug. 21st, Fairview Farm

Fore The Children Golf Tournament, Aug. 31st, Torrington Country Club

High Watch Golf Tournament, Sept. 21st, Club at River Oaks

Hearts of the Fathers Golf Tournament, Oct. 8th, Copake C. C.

John Foley Lone Oak Challenge Golf Tournament  Canceled for 2020

Co ARC Opportunitees Golf Tournament, Sep. 24, Copake C.C.   FULL

BLN 20th Annual Golf Tournament, Sept. 14th, Torrington C.C.

Sharon Fire Co. Golf Tournament, Sept. 15th, Sharon Country Club

Torrington PAL Golf Tournament, Sept. 28th, Torrington C.C.

Again, everything these days is subject to change, so check http://sportingacause.com/ for updates.

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Reason for Hope

Reason for Hope

So many cancellations, so many fundraising opportunities lost, so much uncertainty. But here in the sports-related fundraiser world there is now reason for optimism. Even as many events have canceled (and continue to) and the daily dose of Covid-19 news looks bleak, some charities are still hopeful that they can pull off their events.

Two weeks ago I offered an unhappy list of event cancellations. Today, here is a list of events that are either on the calendar or are hoping to be.

Ancrum Fire Co. Golf Tournament,   August 9th at Undermountain Golf Course

Northwest CT United Way/Charlie Ormsby Golf Tournament,    on hold

UNICO Golf Tournament,   moved to Oct 5th at Torrington Country Club

James Ducillo Canaan Exchange Club Golf Tournament,  possibly in late August

Amenia Fire Co. Golf Tournament,  September 12th at Undermountain Golf Course

SWSA Golf Tournament and Pig Roast,   September 19th at Undermountain Golf Course

Fore the Children Golf Tournament,   August 31st at Torrington Country Club

Ice Bucket Challenge,  tentatively in October

Sheffield Fire Co. Golf Tournament,  September at Copake Country Club

Angevine Farm Half Marathon,  postponed – new date to be determined

Jane Lloyd Fund Clam Bake,  postponed –  hope to hold an event in September

Salisbury Cricket Club Cricket Match,  postponed, hope to hold event in September

Million Mile  Alex’s Lemonade Stand Fundraiser, still on for month of September

Berkshire County ARC Golf Tournament,  rescheduled for September 2nd at Berkshire Hills Country Club

Josh Billings Runaground Triathlon,  still scheduled for September 13th with alterations

Many more events are, as yet, undecided . Needless to say, everything these days is subject to change, so check out sportingAcause.com for event updates.

 

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Out of the Darkness

 

It will be the most comforting, nurturing stroll  these folks take this year. Hundreds will traverse the Walkway Over the Hudson this fall during the Out of the Darkness Community Walk sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

You’ll see teams of walkers sporting T shirts with the names and faces of loved ones lost to suicide. They will  wear a variety of colored beads, each signifying  a particular form of loss- white beads mean the loss of a child;  orange, the loss of a sibling;  gold, the loss of a parent. If you struggle with your own thoughts of suicide, there are green beads there for you.

Thomas Sherwood and his wife Marie will be walking with Team Joe. Thomas will wear orange  in honor of his brother Joey who died five years ago. They will be joined by Joey’s widow Joy- she’ll be wearing red.

The mood will be, at times, surprisingly upbeat, because they are a gathering of kindred spirits – they understand what each other is going through far better than the outside world can know. Their mantra is “You’re not alone”. That’s where the nurturing and comforting come in.

But there will be somber reflection too as  people step to the microphone to tell of their loss ” I am wearing white today because I lost my twin boys, both of them” Their words yank at your heart. Maybe these expressions are cathartic for them- I hope so.

But this event is also a fundraiser. The teams seek donations to help support the important work that the AFSP does.

They teach grade schoolers about mental health, continue research into what causes people to attempt suicide, and educate the general population about what behaviors to look for and how to get help for someone who exhibits those warning signs.

The AFSP mission is to decrease suicides  20% by 2025.

Thomas is raising funds now. If you would like to support him please go here: https://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/Thomas-Sherwood

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.

Nearly 50,000 Americans die each year from suicide.

To learn more about AFSP’s good work visit https://afsp.org/

To learn more about the Out of the Darkness Dutchess/Ulster County Community Walk on Sept. 27th visit:  http://sportingacause.com/event/dutchess-ulster-…s-community-walk/

To learn more about the Out of the Darkness Berkshire County Community Walk on Oct. 3rd visit:   http://sportingacause.com/event/out-of-the-darkn…re-county-walk-2/.

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