Naples, Florida: 11-Hour Fundraising for Huntington's Disease!

April 16, 2018

On Saturday, April 14, 2018, fundraising events for Huntington's disease were held at Nana's Diner in Naples, Florida. Michelle Melazzi-Klink (James Valvano's cousin), hosted two Cornhole Tournaments, and a Poker Tournament to benefit the programs and services of WeHaveAFace. The day began with two, genuinely competitive, Cornhole Tournaments. This event stirred up many questions across social media. Photos and videos hit Facebook and Twitter, and people wanted to know, what is cornhold? Personally, I had only been introduced to the game ten years ago. Having played it myself (horrifically, but I digress), I can unequivocally report that this game is on fire, and many who play the game have mastered it!  On this day, I witnessed it firsthand. 

 

What is Cornhole? 

 

According to the American Cornhold Organization, "It's been called many things: Corn Toss, Bean Bag, Bean Toss, Soft Horseshoes, Indiana Horseshoes...It has been said that the game originated in Germany in the 14th century, and then was rediscovered in the hills of Kentucky over 100 years ago. The truth is, who really knows, but the game is great fun for all ages and can be played anywhere! Cornhole or Corn Toss is similar to horseshoes except you use wooden boxes called cornhole platforms and corn bags instead of horseshoes and metal stakes. Contestants take turns pitching their corn bags at the cornhole platform until a contestant reaches the score of 21 points. A corn bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point."

Under the hot Florida sun, bags hit the air at noon! The Cornhole Tournaments, (run by Bob Short), lasted for almost five hours. The winners of the Cornhole Tournaments were: Jason Kramer and Ryan Reiff (first tournament), and Eddie Gattis and Scott Mello (second tournament).  We congratulate each of the winners!

 

We thank Al Klink, Scott Marcotte, and Bob Short, for building the cornhole boards.  The Cornhole boards were among the silent auction items.

The day was far from over!  Just before the Poker Tournament began inside Nana's Diner, Michelle Melazzi-Klink addressed the crowd. In her opening remarks, Michelle spoke about how Huntington's disease has affected our entire family.  It was an emotional moment for all of us. Michelle went on to honor her friends and family who helped make this fundraising event possible.  Michelle gave blue and purple roses to her friends and family. 

 

Michelle made some heartfelt comments:

 

"I have a great group of friends who are always willing to help raise awareness of this disease...I am surrounded by so many great people who are always there for me and my family."  

 

"I want to thank Nicole Singletary for helping me organize this event, and for getting many of the donations." 

 

"I also want to thank my husband (Al Klink) and children (Andrew, Leah, and Maddy) for their support and accepting my wife and mom stress as I prepared for this event."