Three days before Christmas 2009, Turner Corbett’s family got the devastating news that his mom, Jennifer, had been diagnosed with ALS. Turner was just 12 years old.
Wanting to make the most of a difficult situation, in 2015, Turner created a benefit event that would raise money for ALS research. After running through some ideas with his friend Alex Doswell, they decided a dodgeball tournament would be the most fun and family friendly.
“There was a lot of energy and fun around that first tournament,” Turner said. “It raised a lot of money, and my mom really enjoyed watching people play dodgeball in her honor.”
More than 300 people participated in the first tournament, which was hosted on Mother’s Day weekend as a way to especially honor Turner’s mom. It raised $12,500 for the fight against ALS.
In 2016, during Turner’s senior year of high school, he and Alex raised another $13,000 and officially handed down the tournament to Turner’s cousins Anna Caroline Turner and Carlotta Murrin, as he and Alex were going to college the next year.
“My cousin Anna Caroline and I had been wanting to organize the tournament ever since Turner and Alex started it,” Carlotta said. “We felt it was so important to keep the tournament going because of all the awareness and donations it brought in towards ALS.”
Prior to the tournament, many of their friends didn’t know about ALS and how it affects people. The tournament helped to inform their classmates, and they began supporting ALS in any way they could. Because dodgeball is a fun event for both kids and adults, it was a great way to raise awareness in multiple age groups.
Carlotta and Anna Caroline’s goal was to raise $10,000, but they tripled their goal, raising over $30,000! Having hoped to be able to fill three tournament brackets with teams, they also exceeded that goal and had to create four brackets because of the outstanding turn out.
“This year, we raised over $30,000 for ALS research, which I am honestly still in shock about,” Carlotta said. “It’s hard to believe how successful this tournament is. Turner and Alex came up with the idea three years ago, and I can’t believe that idea has raised over $55,000 over the past three years!”
The tournament has truly become a family affair, and Carlotta and Anna Caroline already have plans in the works for their brothers and cousins to organize the tournament after they graduate high school. Their community’s willingness to help in any way they can has shown their family how Jennifer is deeply loved by so many.
“ALS has affected my family in more ways than I can name, so being able to organize something that is fun and light-hearted but also sentimental and powerful in many ways truly blows me away,” Carlotta said. “I just hope that the success our tournament has gained will help inspire other people to create new ways to raise awareness and donations for ALS research too.”