Charity kickball event raises money, spirits


vieral voice Chris Bonanno

A fun gathering benefiting a great charitable cause was held Feb. 9 at Viera Regional Park in the form of the sixth annual Kickin’ It For Hope,  which featured both a free kickball tournament and other activities that were family-friendly in nature.

Proceeds from the day were slated to benefit the No Bad Days Foundation, which helps children with disabilities in Brevard County by purchasing needed equipment and other needed items.

“Six years ago, we knew a young child who needed a piece of medical equipment,” said Mark Warzecha, the event organizer. “The insurance company wouldn’t pay for it, so we wanted to help out. We’re a law firm, Widerman Malek, knew the child, so we put together a kickball tournament to raise money for him. We were able to raise enough money to buy the medical device and we thought you know there’s no reason to stop. Let’s keep doing it and we’re on our sixth year now.”

Warzecha added that the No Bad Days Foundation has helped “about 20 children” during the program’s existence.

One of those children who was helped was 5-year-old Curren Ramsey of Melbourne for whom the foundation purchased a safety bed, according to his mother, Nerissa, who lives in Melbourne. Curren has what Nerissa said is a “super-rare neurogenetic condition,” that is so uncommon that he was just the fourth in the world to be diagnosed with it two years ago.

“We don’t have any foundations for his disease or anything like that. So, we lean n a lot of local resources like No Bad Days,” said Ramsey, who played in the event for Team Curren, which was named after her son.

Fourteen teams of at least 10 players each participated in what was a double-elimination tournament.

“We’ve got the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, we’ve got the Melbourne Fire Department, we’ve got Florida Power & Light. They’re from all over. They’re, you know, businesses, just teams put together and 14 total.”

Warzecha also noted that the Widerman Malek pays for all of the day’s expenses, meaning that “whatever money raised is 100 percent net.” He added that the day usually raises “about $10,000, $15,000 a year.”

Kickball was chosen as a fundraiser, Warzecha added, because it was “just something different.” It also is an activity that allows for children with disabilities to take part in the fun as well. Patients have “their wheelchairs retrofitted so they can actually participate in the game” thanks to a partnership with Ability Plus Therapy and No Limits Academy.

“We bring all of our patients out in their wheelchairs and we play a round of kickball just for fun with our team,” said Karen Rhoads of Ability Plus Therapy and No Limits Academy.