About two years ago, one piece of news changed a student's life forever.
Then-Brecksville-Broadview Heights football coach Jamie Hitmar told his team about a Medina Highland High School football player who would never walk again. A simple tackle could lead to a world of heartache and medical bills.
Seventeen-year-old Matt Galland decided to try to change this.
“That’s when I thought I could use my role as a running back to help others injured like that,” he said.
His coach’s story moved him to start Rush For A Cause, which raises money for athletes with serious injuries. This year, the first Family Football Blitz Fundraiser on August 13 will host six fields of 174 football teams scrimmaging, as well as cheer clinics, inflatables, games and a silent auction from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.
“We want to be pleasantly surprised, I think,” Matt’s mom Debbie Galland said about their monetary goal for the event. “We don’t really have a goal; we just want people to come out with their family, support the cause and bring further awareness to it.”
Entry donation suggestions are $5 for adults and $2 for children, which provides tickets for games and activities. Tickets can be bought for $1 and can result in prizes if games are won.
In the past, the Gallands have raised about $50,000 simply gathering donations from local teams, but hope to expand that amount with Family Football Blitz.
“It’s all on the family to pay medical bills and rehab,” Matt Galland said.
Rush For A Cause can assist with the cost of medical care to lift some of the burden for families dealing with this type of tragedy, he said.
The donations go to athletes with injuries one of three ways. Rehabilitation or equipment will be paid for, or a scholarship will be provided for the person with the injury. This assures sponsors and donors that the money goes directly to the person’s needs, said Debbie Galland.
Though Matt Galland, now 18, moved to Colorado for the United States Air Force Academy, he plans to continue to expand the organization and stay in touch as much as possible.
“It’s definitely going to be something that I take on with me, trying to grow it nationally and get in as much help as possible,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be something I continue throughout my life.”
To get involved, visit www.rushforacause.org. There, donations and sponsor opportunities can be found. And openings remain for the cheer clinic. Registration forms can be found on the website under "Family Football Blitz" in the “Events” tab.
Contact the Gallands at email@example.com.