High School Sports

Letter To FCIAC Alzheimer’s Walk Supporters: Thank You

A pre-walk pose with my brother Jeffrey.

To All FCIAC Alzheimer’s Walk Teams,

When I was asked prior to last year’s annual Fairfield County Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Calf Pasture Beach to chair this year’s event, I didn’t hesitate to accept. My brother Jeffrey was the chair a year ago (and was honorary chair this year) and is on the state chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. I was envious not having the opportunity to do more than walk and write a check.

My hope was my platform here would be a means to bringing the area sports world together for a common cause. I had high, yet initial undefined hopes.

And boy, have they been exceeded.

As of today, 65 FCIAC teams have raised $70,608. That is 29 percent of the total $244,820 — fundraising continues through the end of the year.

A combined Ridgefield boys and girls basketball team raised has raised $6,020. The Staples boys soccer team is next with $5,765, followed by the St. Joseph volleyball team — coach Jeff Babineau lost his mother to Alzheimer’s — with $5,235. The New Canaan football team has raised $4,000.

Seventeen teams have raised over $1,000. The Wreckers’ Jack Douglas raised $2,290. Julia Bazata of the New Canaan golf team had her babysitting and dogsitting clients pay her by donating to her fundraising page. She raised $1,560.

Fairfield County Bank, the presenting sponsor of The Ruden Report, donated $6,000 — including a $1,000 match to the first $100 raised by 10 teams that had yet to fundraise.

But this was a team effort — an FCIAC team effort — and every dollar raised was a collaborative achievement. This came in a year of a pandemic, when fundraising was a challenge. And as you can see from the slideshow of photos below, teams had a fun time with the walk yesterday.

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FCIAC schools have long been involved with charitable endeavors, and October is always a big month for fall teams. With no fans at games right now, this was a ready-made event where everyone could participate and stay in their communities.

Next month will make it 38 years since I covered my first FCIAC game — I left area newspapers for a year and a half. I have always written about the achievements of league teams. For the past six months, since starting the process of getting teams to register, I have had my first chance to be part of the FCIAC team.

And I couldn’t be prouder. My mother has suffered from Alzheimer’s for over 10 years now, so this cause is important to my family, to the families of many FCIAC coaches and athletes, to millions of families in the country.

This was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, not just because of the end result, but because of the process working with all of you. Your expressed support has touched me in ways I cannot express.

In fact, I am not a talented enough writer to properly convey what is in my heart, so please just accept these two simple words.

Thank you.