All-night volleyball raises money, awareness for MDA

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The Socorro Fire Department and city of Socorro hosted an all-night volleyball tournament Aug. 9 at Sedillo Park to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Photos by Susann Mikkelson/El Defensor Chieftain: Paul Bankcroft, lead pilot for PHI Air Medical — the medical transport company that serves Socorro and surrounding counties, supervises children as they experience sitting in the medical transport helicopter Friday night during the volleyball tournament. PHI donated two rides in their helicopter to the event drawing.

Stormy weather all around Socorro didn’t hamper spirits or participation on Friday night as mixed teams – men, women and youth of all ages — came out to play and support MDA. Storms brewed all around throughout the night, including fierce lightning storms in the distance, and rain fell, some heavy in areas around Sedillo Park early Saturday morning. But that didn’t stop tournament goers from sticking it out and playing volleyball all through the night. The tournament lasted until almost 3 a.m. Saturday.

The event marked the second annual volleyball tournament for MD in Socorro. Approximately 15 teams signed up. But this wasn’t about winning as much as about having good, summer fun and raising funds for a good cause. Teams paid $50 each to participate, and there was a drawing for a helicopter ride in the PHI Medical transport helicopter as well as concessions provided by members of the fire department. This year’s event raised about $850.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is the world’s leading nonprofit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neuromuscular diseases. It does so by funding worldwide research; by providing comprehensive health care services and support to MDA families nationwide; and by rallying communities to fight back through advocacy, fundraising and local engagement. MDA combats neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive medical and support services, and far-reaching professional and public health education. With national headquarters in Tucson, Ariz. MDA has 120 local offices across the country, including one in Albuquerque that serves all of New Mexico. MDA sponsors 200 medical clinics and supports more than 250 research projects around the world.

Spokesperson Mario Amaro, who helped organize the event, said the department plans to continue this annual event.

Two teams serve the ball simultaneously during the MDA benefit volleyball tournament on Friday night at Sedillo Park. The tournament was hosted by the Socorro Fire Department and the city of Socorro, and went through the night Aug. 9 and early Aug. 10.

“We’ve been raising funds for MDA for about 10 years,” Amaro said. “It’s just one of several charities we raise funds to support.” Other fund raisers held for MDA include a walk during the county fair parade, and possibly a booth of some kind at the county fair. “Last year we also had a dunk tank at the fair, but I don’t know if we’ll do that this year.” Amaro said. He said they would likely have some sort of informational booth at the fair this year.

Diana Rivera and Felipe Madrid were the drawing winners, and got to take a ride in the PHI Medical transport helicopter on Sunday afternoon. The rides were scheduled for Sunday morning, but had to be rescheduled due to medical transports taking precedence.

The volleyball tournament was started last year and has been well received thus far. The tournament is held in the late summer, usually sometime in August.