What started out as a question from one best friend to the other eventually evolved into a "big" idea for a fundraiser. It all began back in 2007 when then 8-year-old Kyra Scadden asked why her friend and May-Watts Elementary School classmate Angie Lee couldn't play soccer. Kyra learned Angie had Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a debilitating, genetic neuromuscular disease.
Fast forward to 2014 when Kyra, Angie and their high school friends were brainstorming for a way to update the annual SMA fundraiser. Having done huge community garage sales, pasta parties and silent auctions -- collectively raising $110,000 for Families of SMA -- the students decided to return to Kyra's initial soccer inquiry for inspiration. That's when they came up with the idea of a fun, recreational soccer tournament using a giant, 40" soft soccer ball because it was unique and wheel chair friendly. With big fun and big funds as the goal, the SMA Big Ball Soccer Tournament will take place Saturday, September 27th at Players Indoor Sports Center, 1740 Quincy Avenue, Naperville, IL. Teams will be comprised of friends, family and supporters of the Families of SMA and Kyra's Idea…Angie's Hope organizations. Kick-off is at 6:00 p.m.
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Spectators of all ages are invited to attend the event and cheer on the teams plus partake in a variety of attractions. For an entrance fee of $5, attendees can enjoy bidding on exciting silent auction items including a Chicago Fire autographed soccer ball, round trip airline tickets anywhere in the continental US courtesy of Southwest Airlines, a guided wine tasting from Wine Style, and much more. Additional activities include a DJ, refreshments, a photo booth, bean bag toss, and crafts and coloring for
little ones. For those who are unable to attend the event but want to contribute to the cause, donations can be made at www.Angieshope.org .
SMA is a debilitating, neuromuscular disease that's the leading genetic killer of children under the age of two. It destroys the nerves controlling voluntary muscle movement, which affects crawling, walking, head and neck control, and even swallowing. One in every 6,000 babies is born with the disease and one in every 40 people (that's 7.5 million Americans) carries the gene that causes SMA. It can strike anyone of any race, age or gender, yet many do not know that it exists until it strikes their own family.
Now 15 years old, Angie is an honor student at Metea Valley High School and beating the odds, thanks to research and treatment discoveries funded by events such as the "SMA Big Ball Soccer Tournament". "I love that we are doing a soccer tournament this year since that's what inspired Kyra in the beginning," said Angie. Kyra added, "It's going to be so much fun …and the best thing is, since we are using the giant, soft soccer ball, anybody including Angie can play!"