A junior at Wallenpaupack Area High School, Liam Cunningham, is planning a benefit at Ski Big Bear at Masthope Mountain in memory of a seven year old boy who died of a brian tumor.
The event, a rail jam, is set for Saturday, January 12th. Registration for the event begins at 3 p.m. and the competition starts at 4 p.m. The cost to register is $15. Each paying registrant will receive "knock-around" sunglasses and a t-shirt.
Cunningham, who lives in Hawley, is doing this as his senior project.
All participants must have a lift ticket and sign a waiver of liability to participate. Helmets are also required to participate. Ski Big Bear is offering discounted lift tickets of $15 to all competitors. Those that donate to the cause will be provided with a gold ribbon pin which will earn them a discount in the snack bar.
Inspired by skateboarding, at a rail jam snowboarders and skiers use a freestyle approach to riding on surfaces other than snow. These include metal rails, boxes, benches, ledges, and walls. Contest participants are generally allowed to take as many runs as time permits, and winners are selected on the basis of skill and the difficulty of tricks. The competitive aspect is usually low-key. Skiers and riders "jam" to the music playing in the background.
Proceeds will be split to assist the family of the little boy, Jacob Grecco, and the rest donated to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Money donated to CHOP will help fund research and help current cancer patients there.
"I chose to give the money to them because I want to make as big of an impact as I can, and I feel that giving my money to a smaller cause will make a larger impact than if I gave to a big one," Cunningham said. He added that he chose CHOP because that was where Jacob received treatment. "I wanted to give back to a place which helped he and his family so greatly," he said.
He explained that Jacob had a brain tumor called Gliomatosis Cerebri. This is a very aggressive brain tumor which was treated with chemo and radiation. Despite the treatment, as well as love, hope and prayers from his family, friends and his "prayer warriors", Jacob lost his battle with cancer. Jacob earned his angel wings on August 1, 2012 while undergoing alternative treatments in Germany.
Cunningham stated that he never had the privilege to know Jacob, but the boy's parents are family friends of his parents.
Additional information can be found at www.facebook.com/JibsForJacob