All proceeds raised from the tournament will be donated to the Oncology department at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
By Dexter McCann
More than 150 trophy hopefuls will converge on Hall High School on Aug. 3 for the fifth annual 3v3 Ball 4 A Cure basketball tournament. The tournament, founded by seven Conard High School graduates in 2015, is expected to raise approximately $15,000 for the Oncology department at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC).
The tournament started as a simple idea between seven lifelong friends and West Hartford residents. As Max Kraimer, one of the founding members of the tournament, put it, the group “sought to do something in the community with our community,” and by “using sports as a way to bring people together,” have now done just that.
The first Ball 4 A Cure tournament in 2015 raised approximately $1,500, meaning the revenue raised every year and donated to the CCMC will have grown tenfold by the time the 2019 games tip off.
The seven founders knew they wanted to make an impact in their community, and settled on making the treatment of cancer, and pediatric cancer in particular, their cause. Over six hundred children in Connecticut are battling pediatric cancer, and the Ball 4 A Cure team is committed to aiding their fight in conjunction with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
“The Oncology Department at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is the group that is treating our fellow neighbors, classmates, and friends who have been diagnosed with this awful disease … we want to support the CCMC community, and, more specifically, the families who are there every step of the way,” said Kraimer.
The fifth edition of Ball 4 A Cure will projects to be the most competitive tournament yet, and will split up into two divisions, one of kids and one of adults (14+). Each division has a different grand prize, with the adults competing for a $300 purse and the kids competing for four VIP tickets to see the Hartford Yard Goats.
Registration for the tournament is still open, and costs $90 for adults and $75 for kids. Included in that cost is entry to the tournament, three Ball 4 A Cure T-Shirts, food, drinks, and mini-games at the event. For an additional $75, the Ball 4 A Cure Staff will design and print custom uniforms complete with names and numbers for any given team.
Ball 4 A Cure draws in a varied pool of competitors from Hartford country and throughout New England. Last year’s tournament featured a mix of college intramural players, high school basketball players, and even college athletes attempting to win the grand prize. The one constant, according to Kraimer, is that “every player and spectator walks away knowing that they have contributed to a great cause while enjoying an action packed day in a tighter knit community.”
The Ball 4 A Cure team has big plans for its future in conjunction with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. In May 2019, the tournament was granted official 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, further legitimizing the tournament in the eyes of players and sponsors. The group plans to stay true to its roots by keeping the Ball 4 A Cure tournament in Hartford country, but is excited about the opportunity to outsource their charitable model to other interested communities.
And, while Ball 4 A Cure grows geographically, it will also grow more athletically diverse, as the group plans to incorporate tournaments for other sporting events in the name of “uniting communities to support the families and patients of pediatric cancer,” according to Kraimer.
In order to do so, the Ball 4 A Cure team is working to incorporate internal programs at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to improve the quality of life for pediatric cancer patients and their families.
The programs will have three pillars: financial support for the families of patients, increasing community awareness on the most effective ways to support the patients, and, finally, implementing fun activities at Connecticut Children’s that “allow kids to be kids.”
There’s still time to participate in the tournament or to donate to the cause. Each of those actions can be done on Ball 4 A Cure’s official website.
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