A student-athlete is typically stereotyped as someone who cares only about their particular sport and nothing more. However, it is athletes such as the Ironwood High School varsity softball team that break down that particular stereotype and prove that they are much more than just student-athletes.
When Eagles head coach Angela Curry was hired, she knew she wanted to make an impact on her team, not only on the field, but also in their lives. Curry gathered together the seniors on the softball team to express her interest in giving back to the community, and from the very start, she put it completely into their hands. "I wanted to see if they would be interested in getting involved with charity work and they were excited about it," Curry said.
The girls began by finding an organization to give back to and they came across "Max's Market" at the Phoenix Children's Hospital online. They contacted the hospital and decided to take part in raising money for the hospital. "Max's Market" first began as a non-profit organization created by the Marangella family in honor of their son, Max. Max was born with two major congenital defects, one of the heart and the other intestinal. He spent the majority of his first year of life as an inpatient at Phoenix Children's Hospital and has already undergone 16 surgeries. While Max's mother, Patricia, was living in the hospital with her son, she realized that another young boy was not being visited by family and he was on the brink of death. Although Patricia and her husband Michele were both out of work due to taking leave of absences from their job to be with their son, Patricia made a trip to Babies R' Us to purchase a teddy bear as well as some clothes for the sick child.
"I kept bringing him little things and he recovered," Patricia said.
She spoke with the hospital to develop a plan to provide toys and clothing for other children throughout the hospital.
"I wanted to do this in order to give back to the place that saved my child," Patricia said.
Curry said that the entire Marangella family, including their 11-year-old daughter, Ellie, paid a visit to the softball team and from the minute the girls met Max ,they were eager to get involved.
"The seniors came up with the carnival idea and we named in the Day of Champions as a way to involve the entire campus," she said. "It was their way to give back by organizing this event along with an auction filled with great items."
The day was full of Ironwood club participants, including newspaper, Future Teachers, spiritline, Spanish and French club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Youth Alive, Asian Cultural Awareness, the sophomore and junior classes, basketball team, student government and members of an Ironwood feeder school, Max's family is grateful for the Eagles' involvement with their family and Patricia said Max adores being around them.
"They have been a really great and enthusiastic group to work with," she said.
Patricia said when they first approached her about raising money for Max's Market, she was touched to see they wanted to raise money in his name rather than raise money for new equipment or T-shirts.
"They thought to raise money for someone else and I was overwhelmed by their willingness to do so," Patricia said.
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