Friday night’s girls basketball game between Ludlow and Chicopee High Schools began with a special show of solidarity between rivals on the court, as members from each team collaborated to raise funds and awareness for the local charity, Griffin’s Friends. According to their website Griffin’s Friends, strives to ease the hardships of children in treatment for cancer, and the families who love and support them, which is best described by their stated mission “to bring moments of joy to courageous kids”.
Over several weeks prior to game day, Ludlow Athletic Director and LHS girls basketball coach Tim Brillo along with Chicopee Athletic Director, Mr. James Blain, coordinated the event. Each coach also dedicated time during practice for team members to learn about Griffin’s Friends, helping them make a connection to their fundraising efforts.
Of the partnership Brillo explained, “In addition to being the Chicopee Athletic Director Jim Blain is a long time member/runner of Griffin’s Friends and Steve Marcil (Chicopee coach) was my college roommate, is a good friend and a longtime supporter of Griffin’s Friends, so this was a natural fit.”
One of the highlights for all in attendance was the pregame warmup when players from both teams practiced wearing Griffin’s Friends t-shirts. Brillo explained that the t-shirts were generously donated by Mr. James Kelleher, Griffin’s father, and one of the founders of Griffin’s Friends, and Griffin’s Friends volunteer, Mrs. Amy Ryan.
“Congratulations to Tim, and Steve, but most importantly to the student athletes from both teams for coming together and making a difference in the communities in which they live,” proudly shared Blain. “Both Ludlow and Chicopee High Schools have strong connections to Griffin’s Friends through families that have been supported in more ways than anyone could imagine.”
Brillo shared that the LHS team ran a 50/50 raffle and a half court shot competition during the game and Blain stated that the Chicopee team collected donations both at the school and in the community. Between the two teams they raised over $400 for Griffin’s Friends.
“It means a lot to see two competing schools come together to raise awareness for a great cause,” commented Brillo. “Organizations such as Griffin’s Friends help us all keep the games we play in perspective.”
Although each coach was extremely pleased by the money raised Blain echoed the sentiment of many when he said, “The dollar value raised pales in comparison to the spirit, generosity, and goodwill that was overflowing tonight.”