The movie Field of Dreams popularized the idea that “if you build it, they will come.” Well, on June 20, 2012, people came to the fields of Grant Park, Chicago, to the world’s largest charity kickball tournament as part of the fight against cancer.
Built by dedicated volunteers from TMC, the Kicks for Cure annual event raises money to support the cancer charity Receptions for Research: The Greg Olsen Foundation. This year 63 teams and hundreds of spectators raised over $175,000 for the cause – a record-breaking number.
And like the movie we had plenty of celebrities on the field. Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers co-hosted the tournament as he has done in previous years. Greg was joined by his former Chicago Bears teammates Matt Forte and Caleb Hanie, and Drew Stanton from the Indianapolis Colts. Well known actor Vince Vaughn even showed up to lend a hand.
One of the main themes of Field of Dreams is creating a community out of nothing through hard work and tenacity, and this is what makes Kicks for a Cure such a special achievement.
First, there are the TMC and C.H. Robinson volunteers and clients who make the event possible. We could not have pulled off the event without the tirelessly long hours put in by so many volunteers and the donations from many clients including Driscoll’s, Dole, Campbell Soup, Continental Mills and Ocean Spray.
Another key part of the community is the players and spectators who bring the tournament alive. The event consists of three different divisions of competition, allowing players of all skill levels to participate. The top three fundraising teams – who together raised nearly $35,000 this year – get to play Greg Olsen’s team that has now won the tournament for three years running. Spectators can purchase day passes which allow them entrance into the event, as well as food and beverage throughout the day. Many teams and spectators show up year after year.
This huge community and the momentum we have built up have set the stage for a tremendous 10th anniversary tournament in 2013. We hear that some teams are actively recruiting athletes so they can end Greg Olsen’s three-year winning run! And we are planning something very special to mark the 10-year milestone.
Our main focus will remain the same: to keep supporting a charity that provides hospitals, doctors, and researchers the necessary resources to save cancer sufferers.
“It’s through events like these, and the generous support of the community that we are able to continue our mission and help the thousands of people affected every day by this terrible disease,” said Greg Olsen.
The ultimate dream is a cure for cancer, and the community spirit that energizes Kicks for a Cure brings it a step closer to reality.