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How One Angel Changed the Lives of Hundreds of Young Trail Blazers Fans

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Blazer’s Edge has sent thousands of kids in need to see the Blazers play over the years, quietly helped by a hidden benefactor.

NBA: Preseason-Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz
Oct 19, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) talks with Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts (Left) during the second half against the Portland Trail Blazers at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Trail Blazers won 88-84. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

We want to thank all of you once again for making Blazer’s Edge Night, 2019 happen. Because of your donations, 2,222 young people and their chaperones will converge on the Moda Center on March 25th to see the Portland Trail Blazers play the Brooklyn Nets. If you want to hear more about how the event works, you can see this article. But wait! There’s more to know! Today I’d like to tell you about someone pretty special who’s been intrinsic to the process over the last few years. As it turns out, Blazer’s Edge has an angel.

In recent seasons, I’d notice a pattern in our ticket donations. Tickets would come in slowly but steadily through the first few months of the season, with spikes whenever I’d remind people of the need. Then over the final few weeks, donations would soar until we met our goal.

A couple times, though, we experienced an odd phenomenon. Donations would skyrocket on a certain day, but the timing did not coincide with a reminder or important update on site. I suspected we either got randomly lucky or an outside source took up our cause for the day, unbeknownst to me. It was a huge blessing, often helping us make our goal.

Last year—during the campaign for Blazer’s Edge Night, 2018—I happened to be in close contact with the ticket office when we got our random spike. I mentioned it, and our ticket rep with the team said, “Yeah, that’s our Big Donor.”

“Big Donor?” said I.

That’s when he explained that, for years, a silent and anonymous benefactor had been getting in contact with the office late in the process, asking how many tickets we had left to donate. Whatever that number was, our benefactor would buy up a substantial chunk of them, often totaling hundreds. It was like we were running a marathon and got to the 20th mile, then started flagging, but a wonderful hand from the sky would push us to the 23rd mile, in sight of the finish line, so we could cruise in and raise our hands. The donor would never buy them all, in flashy style, and would never take credit. It was a quiet, but important, lift for the whole community and all those kids who wanted to go.

As soon as I heard this, it made total sense. That random glitch in our ticket pattern I noticed wasn’t random after all. That was our angel creating the spike that would pave the way home.

I’ve got to tell you, the first time I realized this, I cried a bit. I was overwhelmed at the idea of someone watching out for the kids and all of us donors so persistently, with such compassion. Then I smiled, knowing that everyone who had given tickets—even one or two—created the opportunity for such generosity to matter, and that our angel had, in turn, created an opportunity for gifts from individual donors to stand out so much more.

Now it’s a year since I found out, and I thought it was time to share the presence of our angel with you. This year was a little different! We actually donated almost all the tickets prior to our Angel Donation. I hope that shows our angel that the community fostered by their compassion has grown up...that all us little angels have learned to fly higher on our own. We never, ever would have dreamed we could do that—nor would our past numbers have been so spectacular—unless someone had quietly led the way.

Forgive me for getting theological, but I am a pastor in real life, you know.

The literal definition of the word for “angel” is simply “messenger”.

To our angel: You have been a messenger. You’ve given hope in years where piecing together enough tickets to meet demand was a challenge. You’ve given comfort and joy to hundreds and hundreds of children, to teachers and counselors who just wanted one thing to go right for their kids. Your life has been that one thing.

The shining light in the eyes of our participants.

The happy, nearly disbelieving exclamations from their lips the first time they entered the arena.

The cheers around basketball and friends and a joyous sense of normalcy.

Adults and children getting to be part of a community gathered around passion and hope instead of cynicism and fear, being assured for a night that life isn’t always hard, that sometimes it’s really, really good...

ALL of these things came from you, and from the people whose gifts you made matter even more.

What a message. What a gift to share.

Our angel is still going to remain anonymous. That’s what they wanted. But Blazer’s Edge, I hope you will take a moment to join me in thanking them for being part of our community. And then, after we’ve done that, I’m going to take every thank you note from participants that I can find from the last few years, put them in a box, and mail them to our angel. It’s time for them to read and hold each one of them, and to hear hundreds of voices lifted together saying, “Thanks!”

Thank you, Blazer’s Edge Angel.

—Dave / @davedeckard / @blazersedge / blazersub@gmail.com