By ARDEN BASTIA If anyone knows how to put the "fun" in fundraising, it's the Rock N Jock Charities, a nonprofit organization that raises money for children battling life-threatening illnesses. Each year, the organization hosts two fundraising events, a
If anyone knows how to put the “fun” in fundraising, it’s the Rock N Jock Charities, a nonprofit organization that raises money for children battling life-threatening illnesses.
Each year, the organization hosts two fundraising events, a concert night and a golf tournament, but due to the COVID pandemic, Rock N Jock Charities wasn’t able to hold their annual Night of Entertainment last year.
“Last year, we couldn’t do our night of entertainment, but it was the best turn out in a while for the golf tournament,” said Steve Smith, chairman and co-founder of the organization, in an interview Monday.
With this year’s star-studded Night of Entertainment and a sold-out golf tournament, Smith said that it is “good to be back” and making a difference in the lives of Rhode Island’s youngest residents.
Rock N Jock Charities supports A Wish Come True, an organization that grants wishes to children battling illnesses, and the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), which is dedicated to funding the research and cure of a rare disease.
Last year, Rock N Jock raised $9,000 for each of the organizations.
This year’s Night of Entertainment will take place on Sunday, August 8 at the Crowne Plaza. Rock N Jock Charities has lined up an all-star list of bands for attendees to rock out to in a night of music and dancing. The star-studded lineup includes Neil and the Vipers, Steve Smith and the Nakeds, Larry Braggs from Tower of Power, and disco kings The Trammps.
The night will also feature a silent auction. Tickets cost $35 and are still available to purchase online at www.rocknjockcharities.com or at the door. Doors open at 6, and the concert begins at 7. The organization is looking for more auction prizes. To donate, contact Rock N Jock at (401) 732-6000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Monday, August 9, the organization is hosting its golf tournament, and event Smith says “is always a hit.”
This year’s already sold out tournament will take place at the Potowomot Golf Club. Golfers can register for a waitlist at www.rocknjockcharities.com. Tee sponsorships are still available.
Rock N Jock was founded 21 years ago, as a way to connect local musicians to an audience, all while raising funds to support children and their families with life-threatening illnesses.
“We wanted to start something in Rhode Island to help Rhode Island kids,” said Smith.
In the past two decades, the group has raised nearly $500,000 to grant wishes for children through partnerships with other organizations like Make A Wish and Wish Come True.
This year, Rock N Jock Charities is supporting FARA in honor of Matt Dilorio who passed away only a few weeks ago on July 4.
Dilorio was diagnosed with Friedreich’s Ataxia when he was thirteen. The rare, inherited neuro-muscular disease causes progressive nerve damage and movement problems. Typically, those diagnosed have a 20 to 25 year lifespan.
Dilorio lived until he was 34 years old.
“So some of the treatments must have been working to slow the pace down. Doctors have made inroads to the disease and are making progress,” said Smith. “But it’s such an obscure disease, not like your muscular dystrophy, so they often have a hard time raising money.”
This year’s events are in honor of Dilorio, who Smith says was the organization’s “biggest supporters.”
The organization is also sponsoring the wish of six-year-old Bradley, who was diagnosed with gastroschisis at only a few days old. Gastroschisis is an abdominal birth defect in which the baby’s intestines or other organs are found outside the body.
“He’s spent a lot of his childhood in the hospital dealing with surgeries and infections,” said Smith.
Bradley lives in North Smithfield with his parents and five siblings, and even though he’s dealing with a rare disease, Smith says he “continues to smile and laugh and enjoy as much as he can.”
The Rock N Jock Charities is supporting Bradley’s wish, which is still to be determined, through A Wish Come True.
Each wish from A Wish Come True costs between $5,000 and $6,000.
“If we can raise enough to do a couple of those, this will be a success,” said Smith.