About Ryan grace memorial
"The best thing from the worst thing doesn't erase the worst thing. It just makes the worst thing mean something."
Her attitude and laugh were infectious; her energy and smile filled a room. She loved her 2 sisters with more fire than one could ever hope to be loved.
I’ve heard someone say God is fond of flowers, which is why he chooses to pick the prettiest ones first.
The tragic events of September 17th and 18th, 2017 will forever change the scope of how I look at life. While there are pieces of those days I will never get back, remember, or fully understand, I have learned to find a purpose. Thus, the Ryan Grace Memorial Tournament grew legs.
At the beginning of October 2017, just a mere 3 weeks after the accident, a fundraiser tournament was organized by a small group of baseball coaches who I came to know thru other friends and from my time as a baseball umpire for some of their teams. It was cold, it was a little chaotic, but it was incredible, and it allowed myself, Heather, and my girls to not have to stress daily about finances while I would be out of work for 50 weeks following the accident.
Manifesting itself both from the amount of free time on my hands in 2018 and from the idea that while Ms. Ryan Grace may not be here with us but she can still leave an impact, the 2018 Memorial Tournament was put together. While my 2 shoulder surgeries and roughly 100 physical therapy visits consumed a lot of my time, I took on the role of a baseball organizer. As I said in all my medals presentations that year: I am not, will not, and don’t try to pretend to be a tournament director for 21 teams. It. Is. Hard. The variables you never think of are far too many to count. However, I knew as soon it ended and the tears stopped flowing I would do it again. That year we presented a check to Midwest Transplant Network in the amount of $9,061.22.
Fast forward to 2019: 24 teams, nearly a thousand people past the admission table over 2 days, numerous more expenses this year, a full time job ‘getting in the way’ of my planning...no easy task. However, because of an army of volunteers, who I will forever be indebted to, another successful tournament came and went. In total, I was incredibly honored to present a check in December 2019 for $10, 349.90.
In spite of a crazy 2020 all over the world, and on tournament weekend with weather delays, we made LOTS of lemonade out of the 2020 lemons! Sixty-seven teams, some amazing sponsors, and fantastic volunteers all made it possible such that we donated $27,268.00 to Midwest Transplant Network!
2021 blessed with us incredible weather and a terrific setup for a picture-perfect weekend. 60 teams across 7 age divisions competed, contributed, and donated a grand total of $31,036.52. We were also fortunate to begin the Ryan Grace Hampel Scholarship Fund moving forward.
In 2022, we were able to spread our wings to other opportunities for fundraising, with a BINGO night and a Cornhole tournament which helped increase our total for the year. While the baseball tournament stayed nearly identical with team count (58 in '22) the efficiency and 'getting the hang of it' helped make for a fantastic weekend that delivered a great experience for everyone. All fundraising combined in '22 brought in $38,748!!!
The goal of The Ryan Grace Memorial Baseball Tournament is simple: raise awareness about organ donation while also having a great event for kids. #GiveHopeShareLife
We only hope to make each year bigger and better, to raise awareness and support for Midwest Transplant Network, helping families make "something" of their "worst things."
This is the home for all information about the annual baseball tournament, scholarship, and new in 2022, the Cornhole Tournament. Our goal is to have full disclosure for all coaches, parents, teams, and individuals, allowing you to know what your donations and participation are supporting. We didn't start this knowing how to run a tournament, but organ donation is incredibly important, and we owe it to a special little angel to build a tradition in her honor. Each year we are able to make such an amazing donation because of our little hero, Ryan Grace, and all of you who make it possible.
THANK YOU again to each and every one of you who contributed, donated, sacrificed, and/or participated in these events. We look forward to the opportunity/challenge of doing this all again and again, hoping your experience warrants your interest in participating again next year. 💜 💚
- Matt, Ryan's dad
Ryan Grace Memorial Board