What began as a required Bar Mitzvah Project for eighth graders Brandon Keller and Tyler Gold, who attend Curuso Middle School in Deerfield, Illinois, turned a passion for basketball into a terrific fundraiser.
The boys who have been friends since preschool combined their love of basketball to raise more than $14,000 for 3 charities over the last two years.
Pictured above: Brandon Keller and Tyler Gold
Their idea was to combine their initials and form the TGBK Basketball Shootout. This basketball skills competition would raise money for three charities meaningful to the young men: Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, the Jill Landau Triple Negative Breast Cancer Fund and Propionic Acidemia Foundation.
“My cousin died of a brain tumor the year before and I wanted to do something to give back,” Tyler Gold told us. “We both love basketball, had a Mitzvah Project to do and decided to do this.”
Gold was referring to his 14-year-old cousin, Lucas Goldbaum who died two years ago. Keller wanted to raise money in memory of a college friend of his mothers who died of cancer and fight a disease that afflicts one of Brandon’s cousins.
Gold and Keller did most of the work by themselves, according to Nancy Gold, Tyler’s mother. They contacted Joy of the Game in Deerfield to ask if it would donate its facility. They went to more than 40 local merchants asking them to donate prizes and other things for the event.
“It’s amazing what they accomplished,” Nancy Gold said. “They got help from their families but they went to local businesses, asked for something and they (the businesses) gave them $25 gift cards.”
They were so pleased with the results in 2011 raising nearly $7,000 they decided to do it again on January 13, 2012. This time they took in more than $7,000 for the three causes.
“We were really pleased with last years results but we wanted to do better,” Tyler Gold said. “We wanted to keep giving so we did it again. We plan to keep doing it every year.”
Basketball is a passion for Keller and Gold. They both play for Caruso and hope to play for Deerfield High School next year.
We thank them for sharing their Mitzvah Project and hope it inspires others to create a basketball fundraiser in their local community.