Generosity makes giveSPORTS equipment drive a success

Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson, coach Brian Shaw and GM Tim Connelly help collect donations
by Aaron Lopez

As a Baltimore native who grew up playing lacrosse, Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly looked right at home with a stick in his hand.

Instead of wielding the stick on a lush green field, Connelly held it in the Pepsi Center parking lot during the 2nd annual giveSPORTS equipment drive. The event was inspired by former Altitude Sports & Entertainment intern Jessica Redfield Ghawi, who was killed in the Aurora theater shooting on July 20, 2012.

The lacrosse stick was among the estimated 14,252 pieces of sports equipment donated Saturday. Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson, coach Brian Shaw, SuperMascot Rocky and community ambassadors Anthony Carter, Ervin Johnson and Mark Randall also were on hand to help load donated equipment.

In addition, $3,000 was raised to benefit the Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Fund, and Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson donated $2,000 in Eastbay gift cards.

The gift cards will be used to purchase specific sports gear that will be distributed, along with the rest of the equipment, by A Precious Child, a non-profit organization that works with more than 150 Denver-area community groups.

Before her death last summer, Ghawi was in the process of collecting hockey equipment to donate to the families impacted by Colorado wildfires. The giveSPORTS event was expanded to include new and lightly used equipment from all sports.

“I am so touched by the people of Colorado, many whom never met my daughter,” said Ghawi’s mother, Sandy Phillips. “From the kindness of strangers, Jessi’s dream lives on.”