Written by Jill Nossa Thursday, 09 January 2014 00:00
Two freshmen from North Shore High School have been making the most out of a difficult situation. Cousins Jagger Gillman and Ethan Bradford have a taken a positive, proactive step for a cause that is deeply personal for their family and will also benefit others in the community: organizing a basketball clinic fundraiser to benefit Crohn’s disease research, a disease that Jagger’s younger brother, Harrison, a sixth-grader at North Shore Middle School, suffers from. The two cousins decided to combine their love of basketball with their desire to help find a cure for the disease by putting together an event to raise funds and awareness.
Sponsored by the Sid Jacobsen JCC in East Hills, the two-hour basketball clinic will take place on Sunday, Jan. 19, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., for kids ages 6 to 13. The $20 fee will allow boys and girls to hone their skills at various stations, taught by volunteers as well as coaches from Unlimited Sports, based in Port Washington.
Harrison was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease when he was 7 years old and unfortunately, at this time, there is still no cure. It’s been a challenge for the family but they are all doing what they can to be involved, stay positive, and raise enough awareness and money for research to, hopefully, one day find a cure. They also have support from friends and are expecting it to be fun event.
“A bunch of our friends are volunteering,” says Jagger, noting that six stations will be set up, with 15 minutes spent at each.
Jagger and Ethan have been involved in various fundraisers for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and organized a “Coins for Crohn’s" program at the middle school. This year, they wanted to do something bigger, and spent months working out the details for this event.
Rachel Gillman, mother of Jagger and Harrison, notes, “They’ve been involved for quite some time; this just happens to be their own thing they took and ran with...and they are really learning the hard work that goes into charity work.”
Jagger agrees. “It takes a lot of time and effort to create a fundraiser and carry it out. It’s a lot more work than we expected.”
Ethan’s mom, Sharyn Bradford, adds, “It’s been a great eye opener for them, not only to learn how much work goes into preparing and planning for the event but now advocating for the event, which is a huge part of philanthropy. You can’t have one without the other.”
“It’s kids helping kids - what’s better than that?” says Sharyn.