Some may have been running for a cause in Saturday’s SunTrust National Marathon in the District, but on the same day in nearby Rockville, Md., a group of teams chose a different athletic pursuit for their charity of choice: dodgeball.
Partially inspired by the comedy starring Vince Vaughn, Elizabeth Kramer (COL ’99) and Anna Tiedeman Irwin founded Dodging Diabetes, a local nonprofit diabetes research fundraiser, in 2005.
“Anna and I are both runners, but there are so many road races these days that we really wanted to set our event apart from all the runs,” Kramer said. “Also, the fact that it is team-oriented we thought would be fun.”
While proceeds to the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston are still being tallied for this year’s fundraiser, the event has raised over $13,000 so far.
Previously affiliated with a nonprofit in North Carolina, Kramer joined with Tiedeman Irwin, both of whom have brothers with Type 1 diabetes, to launch the event. Kramer’s brother, David, is also a Georgetown alum (COL ’03).
“Diabetes is a tough disease to live with. We know this first hand because we watch our brothers Andy and David live with it every day – pricking their fingers to test their blood sugar several times a day, taking insulin every time they eat, and living with the consequences of high or low blood sugars if they miscalculate their insulin levels,” the founders wrote on their Web site. “Joslin has helped Andy and David successfully manage their diabetes.”
Charity dodgeball, the high-powered sport reminiscent of third-grade glory days, consists of teams of six with up to four substitutes and no headshots allowed. The tournament is organized in a double-elimination bracket, with each team playing at least two 20-minute, refereed games.
According to Kramer, teams run the gamut from rookies to old pros equipped with a set of plays and strategy.
Kramer hopes to attract participation from Georgetown students in the future.
“I would love to have Georgetown more involved in the tournament. I have put up flyers on campus in the past, but have not had a Georgetown team yet,” she said.
Joslin Diabetes Center, to whom all proceeds of the event go, is an institution at the forefront of care and research surrounding diabetes, a disease affecting over 26 million Americans.
According to Kramer, event participation and proceeds have increased annually, from 16 teams and $4,500 raised in 2006, to roughly 350 participants, composing 33 teams, and over $13,000 raised this year, respectively. Prior to this year, Dodging Diabetes had raised over $40,000 for the Joslin Diabetes Center.
Online registration this year ranged from $250 per team in January to $500 after March 16, with costs increasing nearer to the event. The tournament requires teams to consist of six to 10 players, including at least one female, and is geared toward participants 18 years and older.
Donated prizes included trophies, Bethesda restaurant gift cards and T-shirts, and were awarded to winning teams as well as those that raised the most money.
Local vendors and national corporations such as General Mills, Viacord and Meltzer Group donated food, beverages and prizes to the event.”