UNION COUNTY – Playball for Miracles was born when one woman was inspired by a special child to raise money to fight illnesses that affect children, but it has grown beyond its roots to help other causes.
“Playball for Miracles has been making miracles happen for over eight years,” said Erin Kelly-McGuinness, the organization’s founder and chief coordinator. “We are excited about our growth, especially the addition of more events such as our raffle and miracle nights.”
Friday, June 28, is the third annual Miracle Night with the Somerset Patriots at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater. Proceeds from tickets sold to the 7 p.m. baseball game between the Patriots and Long Island Ducks will be donated to the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (NJFMBA) Foundation’s “The Sandy Ground: Where Angels Play Project” and Children’s Specialized Hospital. The game will be followed by a fireworks show. The cost of tickets is $10, or a ticket and t-shirt combo is $13. Visit www.miraclenight3.eventbrite.com to purchase tickets to the event.
“The Sandy Ground: Where Angels Play” is a project to build 26 playgrounds along the coast of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut in communities that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy last fall. Each of those playgrounds will be dedicated in honor of one of the 20 children or six teachers who were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012.
“Playball for Miracles has grown so large that we feel we can and should do more and help more people,” Kelly-McGuinness said. “The playground movement that the NJFMBA is involved in was born in part to events that occurred at the Elizabeth Fire Department in 2001 while my dad was the chief. The NJFMBA and Elizabeth Fire Department have been such huge supporters of Playball for Miracles that when an opportunity arose to add to the efforts that the NJFMBA is putting forth with Sandy Ground: Where Angels Play, I thought there was no better way to branch out. Playball for Miracles is making miracles happen, this time – Where Angels Play.”
Kelly-McGuinness founded Playball for Miracles after being inspired by Patrick Macnab, a family friend with a rare bleeding disorder. In 2005, the organization held its first charity softball tournament to raise money for Children’s Specialized Hospital and increase awareness of illnesses affecting children. Six men’s softball teams participated in the inaugural event, but the tournament has more than doubled in size over the years and now includes women’s and co-ed divisions as well. The 10th annual charity softball tournament is already scheduled for May 3, 2014.
Since that first tournament, Playball for Miracles has raised over $90,000 for Children’s Specialized Hospital through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and over $19,000 for the families of firefighters and police officers who have children with special needs.
Children’s Specialized Hospital has nine sites in New Jersey and will treat more than 18,000 children with special needs this year.
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