According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, over five million Americans are currently suffering with Alzheimer’s disease, reports Rising Stars founder Paul Savramis. As the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., Alzheimer’s disease continues to impact families and communities across the nation. Paul Savramis and other Rising Stars leaders recently organized a family fundraiser to benefit a local organization dedicated to the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Q: How did this family fundraiser originate?
Paul Savramis: Personally affected by Alzheimer’s disease, Long Island native and NBA draftee Gordon Thomas founded the Alzheimer’s All-Star Basketball Classic as a way to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Q: How was Gordon personally affected by this disease?
Paul Savramis: Gordon lost his father in 2010 to Alzheimer’s Disease. As a result, he felt the need to assist others who are currently experiencing the same diagnosis in their families.
Q: What organization received the charitable proceeds from this event?
Paul Savramis: The Alzheimer’s All-Star Basketball Classic benefits the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA).
Q: How were you personally introduced to Gordon?
Paul Savramis: We were introduced to Gordon through Rising Stars players selected to play in the games and Rising Stars alumni and close personal friend, Chuck Everson. Chuck’s daughter played in the games last year and he invited me to come and meet Gordon. What I saw was a man completely dedicated to raising funds and advancing research studies related to this cause. Rising Stars players and coaches are proud to be a part of this year’s event.
Q: When did the Alzheimer’s All-Star Basketball Classic take place and where was it held?
Paul Savramis: The event occurred on Sunday, October 12 at one of Rising Stars home facilities – Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville, New York. LuHi served as the host with Rising Stars as co-host.
Q: How much were tickets for the event?
Paul Savramis: Very reasonable! For only 10 dollars per person, children and their parents were able to enjoy an entire day of family fun.
Q: What opportunities were available to attendees?
Paul Savramis: A number of prizes and giveaways were included in the festivities. A slam dunk contest was also scheduled and was a great success. Several attendees took advantage of photo opportunities with the participating teams as well.
Q: What was the cornerstone activity of the whole event, in your opinion?
Paul Savramis: The Alzheimer’s All-Star Basketball Classic event featured a matchup between many of Long Island’s elite high-school basketball players. That does not happen often and was fun to watch!
Q: How was Rising Stars directly involved in the day’s activities?
Paul Savramis: Two of the Rising Stars younger teams participated by having a scrimmage in front of the audience during the halftime ceremonies. The fans loved it; the kids had a great time and were they were able to meet the all stars.
Q: Why does this event fit in well with the rest of Rising Stars’ projects?
Paul Savramis: Helping create awareness of important causes is a significant part of our commitment to community service. Our youth are asked to help in a number of charitable events such as the Meals from the Heart event every year. This program fits perfectly with what we do and we plan to continue and increase our participation in this particular event for years to come.
Paul Savramis founded the youth sports organization Rising Stars, Inc. in 1996. He currently is the organization’s President.