Last year Super Fitz and friends raised close to $33,000 for Juvenile Diabetes

“She appeared to be tired. Something wasn’t right and then they told us.”

When doctors told Paul Fitzgerald that his daughter, Caroline, then 8 years-old, had juvenile diabetes, like most parents, he was quick to confess, although familiar with the terminology, he wasn’t completely familiar with the disease. However, that was four years ago. Today, Paul Fitzgerald, a Superintendent in the Boston Police Department, and his family not only have a better understanding of the disease that effects approximately 285 million people worldwide, but they also better understand the responsibility that comes with doing everything in their power to spread the word about the need for funding the research that will one day lead to a cure. “The goal is to cure this disease. We can’t wait to see the day when no family has to worry about juvenile diabetes. But accomplishing that goal means people have to step up. I can’t be a doctor but I can raise money.”

In an effort to step up, Fitzgerald and his family had long been thinking about a way to raise awareness and monies for the disease that presently affects their daughter. To hear Paul tell it, the family had been thinking about holding a road race or a golf tourney. And although Paul is a big fan of both, he was looking for something different, something that would be more inclusive, something, not just for adults, but also for kids of Caroline’s age. So, after much talk and some lengthy discussions, the idea came to the Fitzgeralds courtesy of an old friend and colleague. Said Detective Cecil Jones, “How about a wiffle ball tournament?” To Fitzgerald and his family, the suggestion was one they liked instantly.

Last summer, thanks to a wonderful support group consisting of people like Karen Kelleher, Tommy Joyce, Brendan England, Sean Butler and a host of others, on June 12th, 2010, the 1stAnnual Field of Dreams Wiffle Ball Tournament took to four make-shift diamonds inside the Boston Athletic Club and became a reality.

According to Fitzgerald, the reality of the day far exceeded all expectations and went far better than anyone could have envisioned or imagined. According to Fitzgerald, on the day of the event, he couldn’t help but count his blessings. He says, prior to the first pitch being thrown, he looked around at the large turnout and found himself humbled by the tremendous show of support and friendship. “Something like this only comes together because people who care make it happen. I can’t thank my family, my friends and all those who participated enough. This day was possible because people cared enough to come out.”

When it came to raising dough for a great cause, the 1stAnnual Field of Dreams Wiffle Ball Tourney was nothing short of a huge home run. All in all, the tourney raised $32,500.

This year promises to be even better. Says Fitzgerald, “We’d love to raise as much, if not more money than we did last year. But, to do that, we need people to come out.”

If you would like to see this year’s Field of Dreams Wiffle Ball Tournament,  the 2nd Annual Field of Dreams Wiffle Ball Tournament will be held this Saturday (June 4, 2011) at the Boston Athletic Club at 653 Summer Street in South Boston.

To learn more about Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, log on to the website at www.jdrf.org