On Friday, November 25, for the tenth time in as many years, a loyal group of friends is expected to take to the gridiron in memory of their friend Brian Casey, who was lost to cancer in 1995. Casey, a 1994 graduate of North Rockland High School, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma during the spring semester of his freshman year at SUNY Cobleskill. One month later, on April 7, 1995, he passed away. He was 19 years old.
Benefit football tournament marks a decade of giving back in memory of fallen teammate
What started out as an informal gathering on the football field has blossomed into what is affectionately known as “The Brian Casey Bowl,” a multi-generational event that players and their growing group of supporters look forward to annually on the day after the Thanksgiving holiday. “Everyone looks forward to this, except the guys who think they are still young enough to let it all out on the field, but aren’t” says Richard Rogers, now 35, of Pearl River, NY. Rogers, a long time friend of Casey is one of the event’s original organizers along with Kevin Whelan, 35, also of Pearl River, and Bryan McClinchy, 35 of Dobbs Ferry, NY. The tournament typically draws between 40 to 60 players and spectators, and is held every Friday at noon after Thanksgiving at North Rockland High School. “You look forward to that day all year long, except for the days you are getting over the bruises and pulled muscles,” said Whelan.
The “Brian Casey Bowl” is now the centerpiece event in what has become a year round effort by Friends of Brian Casey Inc. (officially est. 2007). In the 10 years since starting this football classic, what is now “Friends of Brian Casey Inc.” has presented over 10 mini-grant scholarships, awarded to North Rockland High School seniors who exemplify similar characteristics as those Casey was remembered fondly for. Organizers say, “Brian was a proud member of the NRHS football team and known by many as the guy who would do anything for anyone.” Now his friends are doing whatever they can to make sure his legacy lives on.
In addition to the annual football game, Friends of Brian Casey Inc. is now actively fundraising throughout the year and has been able to contribute to many other charities that have impacted what they consider to be their extended network of family and friends. They are regular contributors to such charities as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Cavalry Hospice Hospital, Aid for Aidan, The American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Nick Rossamando 9/11 Memorial Scholarship Fund, and Homes for Heroes among others.
Heading into what is informally their 10th year; Friends of Brian Casey is expecting to easily crest the $15,000 mark in monetary donations since inception to their annual NRHS mini-grant scholarship program and the various causes they support. In 2011, Friends of Brian Casey sent a handful of representatives to the ING New York City Marathon in their biggest endurance challenge. Most importantly they plan on being back at North Rockland High School this Friday after Thanksgiving for another football game.
Rogers said the game is open to members of the public who are interested in playing.
WHO: Anyone interested in participating
WHERE: North Rockland High School Football Field- 106 Hammond Road, Thiells, NY 10984
WHEN: Black Friday, 12 p.m.
NOTE: Gathering afterwards at The Publik House, 30 W. Ramapo Rd., Garnerville, NY 10923 -845-271-3200. Raffles and door prizes will be awarded
Find the friends on facebook under “Friends of Brian Casey Inc.”