How It All Started
I had always known what Alzheimer's was, but I didn't fully understand the effects it can have on someone and their family until I experienced it firsthand with my grandfather. And as I learned more about it, I wanted to do something in my community to help. Yes, it's a disease with no cure, but that doesn't mean donations and awareness don't go a long way. And with more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer's, and rates continuing to increase, it's something that affects nearly everyone.
So, I started planning my own fundraiser...
I had a few key goals:
Raising Money & Awareness
I wanted to make sure there was an element of awareness in addition to raising money for the organization. Despite its prevalence, it's a disease that has a lot of misconceptions. And because it is a disease with no cure, many overlook the impact that donations can have.
Learning to deal with Alzheimer's is something that impacts an entire family, across all generations. It's difficult for everyone so I wanted to make sure everyone felt welcomed and could be a part of it.
Centered Around Basketball
I knew I wanted the event to be based around basketball to make it personal to my experience. My grandfather had taught me how to shoot a basketball when I was three years old and the sport became something that we always bonded over. He played at the University of Maryland and whenever we watched games together it helped him remember some of his favorite stories.
Ballz For Alz
A 3-on-3 basketball tournament and trivia event to raise money and awareness for the Richmond Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association
SPREADING THE WORD
OOH - Flyers and brochures posted at local fitness centers, public schools, and rec league basketball games
Digital - Social media campaign launched on Facebook
PR - The event was posted on the CBS 6 News event calendar and read on school announcements at 6 Chesterfield County Public Schools
Prior to each tournament, guest speakers from the Alzheimer's Association talked to the players about the disease and what they could do to help in our community. They were also kind enough to operate the Tournament Table, where players could learn more about the disease for a prize between games.
Meet the athletes
The tournament offered two age groups: one for adults, and one for high school students. Fortunately, both age groups sold out totaling over 50 participants.
Relive the action
Once sign ups were filled I created a bracket and tournament rules. It was a double elimination tournament with prizes for the winners.
The Alzheimer's Association was thrilled to hear that donations from the players, donations online, and donations from local businesses totaled over $3,000, making this one of the top earning events of the summer for the local Richmond Chapter in 2017.
I also received a thank you note from one of the guest speakers who attended:
It was so refreshing when I received your first email addressed to the greater Richmond Chapter and learned about your plan to conduct a fundraising event that would benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. I was happy to learn that a sense of altruism really is alive and well in younger people and of course I was touched to learn the reason behind your choice.
Getting to the point of the tournament itself. It was great. Admittedly I had to idea what a 3x3 basketball tournament was but from my point of view the entire event was a success. It was well organized, you always had an answer and a plan for what was going to happen next. Especially impressive to me was the fact that you had two completely different age groups assembled to play at different times during the morning. The facet that you had attracted a robust group of adults as well as H.S. seniors was impressive AND the fact that you had female players in both categories - H.S. and adult - was even better in my book. A job well done, Danny!
A final note, I also must thank you for setting aside a few moments before each age group started to play so we could say a few words about the Alzheimer’s Association and specifically about the Greater Richmond Chapter. We are committed to educating the community about various dementia’s and providing support to individuals grappling with the disease and their families. Thank you Danny!
Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator
Greater Richmond Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association