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How a Blazers Game Made Grandma’s Christmas

We’re sending more than 2000 underprivileged children to a Portland Trail Blazers game. Can you help?

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Portland Trail Blazers Godofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Every year this website and its readers send groups of underprivileged children to see the Trail Blazers play in the Moda Center. It started 10 years ago as a generous gesture from a handful of people. It’s grown to the point that we’re now talking thousands of kids. We sent over 2000 last year and we’re trying to do the same this season.

Sometimes when the numbers are that big, projects get abstracted. We lose touch with individuals and start thinking in terms of quantity. That’s the danger of success.

Today I want to share a story, not about thousands of kids, but about two or three who have gone to the see Blazers courtesy of Blazer’s Edge in years past. I want us all to remember why we do this, why this project isn’t about faceless masses but a deep-rooted giving to individuals whose lives could be changed in a small but simple way if people care enough.

A couple of years ago I got an email from a grandma. “Grandma” was actually a misnomer. Technically she was the biological grandmother of a couple of the kids in her house, but practically speaking she functioned as their parent. Beyond that, she hosted foster children. She and her husband had done that for years. Even though it cut into their resources and occasionally raised the stress level, they viewed it as a sacred calling.

This year, things weren’t going quite right. Her husband had taken ill. It wasn’t getting better. They were looking at Christmas and shaking their heads. They knew it’d be spare.

Grandma wasn’t that concerned about material things, rather she wanted her foster children to know that they were loved. Of all the kids she had housed over the years, these two had it the toughest. Their original family situation was about as bad as you could imagine. They had bounced around from foster home to foster home before landing with Grandma. She had given them shelter, but also safety. They were slowly beginning to trust. She couldn’t give them tons of presents on Christmas, but she wondered if she could promise them an experience that spring. Going to a Blazers game would not only excite them, it would assure them that she intended them to be around for a while...that she wasn’t going to pass them along to someone else.

When Grandma wrote us, she was hesitant. She knew we helped entire classrooms and youth programs go to games. Was there any possibility that we could spare just two tickets for a small family? She offered to pay for an extra ticket for an adult to go with them. Grandma was a big Blazers fan herself but she couldn’t go because she couldn’t leave Grandpa alone with the rest of the kids. She had asked a friend to take her foster children to the event. She would never request three tickets, though, just two for the two kids most in need, if we had them.

I wrote to Grandma immediately. I said I was sorry to hear about her husband. I thanked her for taking care of all her kids. I told her that there’s no way we’d consider sending just her two foster kids. I let her know that Blazer’s Edge readers would provide tickets for her, for another adult, and for every kid in her house. She wrote back and asked if I was sure. I said we’d never been surer of anything.

A couple days later she sent a note of thanks. In it was a short video that Grandpa recorded while Grandma told the kids what was up. The high fives and cheering were great, of course, but do you know what the best part of that video was for me? I couldn’t tell which kids were which. Foster or biological, short-term or long-term, whatever hardships those folks had endured, in that moment they just looked like a really happy family. Grandma got her Christmas wish.

We were able to do this because readers of this site give all those tickets. It’s not done by organizations, but by me and you together. We give a little here and there until it adds up to 2000 kids and 2000 stories.

This year’s Blazer’s Edge Night game is March 9th versus the Philadelphia 76’ers. Can you help us make a difference for kids by sending them to that game? Even if it’s just one or two, it’s huge. Upper-deck tickets at the Moda Center are cheap and you order them the same way you would for yourself: online or by phone, with your credit card. Here’s how:

Head to the Trail Blazers website through this link: http://www.rosequarter.com/blazersedge/

Use the order code: BLAZERSEDGE

TICKETS ARE AUTOMATICALLY DONATED IF YOU PURCHASE THEM IN THIS MANNER.

If you don’t wish to order online, you may call ticket rep Alec Botts at 503.963.3926.

Tickets are available at multiple price levels, allowing you to donate as many or few as you wish within your budget. Prices range from $9 to $25 per ticket.

If you work with underprivileged children or youth, the process for requesting tickets is greatly simplified this year. Email me at blazersub@gmail.com for details and spread the word that we’re eager to help folks see a game!

Thank you for making this event a success year after year. Thousands of young folks have experienced the lights, sounds, and action of Trail Blazers basketball because of you. We’re all looking forward to making this another amazing year for the youth and children of our community.

—Dave blazersub@gmail.com / @Blazersedge / @DaveDeckard