We Are…Warriors for Tim

Six years ago, a local high school basketball shoot-out transformed into the Warriors For Tim community event in loving memory of a Central Bucks student. This year, the 3-on-3 fundraiser will be held on April 16 in the Central Bucks South gymnasium.

Tim Raymond, a 13 year-old, 7th grade student from Unami Middle School, passed away on March 6, 2010. After a four month struggle with the H1N1 virus, complications involving a lung transplant led to Tim’s death.

The Warriors for Tim Foundation supports organ recipients and their families. The foundation was created after the death of Tim Raymond, with a mission of recognizing the need for organ and tissue donations for children.

“Timmy Raymond had his first love, which was his family, and his second love was reserved for football,” said CB South graduate Emma Burke, a close friend of Tim Raymond and previous Warriors for Tim coordinator.

Tim’s test results from CHOP revealed MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) in his system, a bacterial infection resistant to antibiotics. Soon after, his conditions fueled the swine flu virus.

“Tim lived with huge tubes in his neck,” Emma explained, “providing him oxygen to breathe.”

Emma knew Tim since they were in kindergarten, “I know he would have loved the basketball shoot-out as a way of being remembered,” she said.

Mr. Balkit, senior class advisor, ran the Warriors for Tim Basketball Shoot-Out for three years, even after his commitment to this event was not required. “Not only do we want to raise money and awareness, but we want to keep the memory of Tim alive through friendly competition,” he said.

The shoot-out includes a bracket made up of approximately 40 teams who “have a day to hang out with friends and get the 3-on-3 basketball experience,” said Mr. Balkit.

This event ran by the student council has support from the Warriors for Tim council that “run the show,” he said. “It really makes a difference that they all have some sort of connection to Tim.”

In addition to student body, Ms. Mattern is the new organizer of Warriors for Tim for this year’s event. Having been the CB South Girls Basketball coach for nine years, she said it is a natural fit for her to run the tournament.

Teaching at Unami Middle School at the time of Tim’s passing, Ms. Mattern has known the Raymond family “for what seems like years now.”

“The basketball shoot-out is something I feel comfortable running,” she said. “I enjoy showing the CB community a way to make this special day become a reality through the sport I love.”

The 3-on-3 basketball bracket is posted on the walls of the gym and followed throughout the day by the students. However, Mr. Balkit said, “This day is not just about being most competitive.”

Students who do not have basketball experience are encouraged to join a team or support their peers on the sidelines. “Little to no skill is required to play,” Mr. Balkit said, “as long as we are always supporting each other.”

CB South basketball players often volunteer to ref the individual games. “Student support is what makes this day possible,” said Ms. Mattern.

Mrs. Raymond is the annual guest speaker at the event. She describes her son’s life and the hope that the Central Bucks community has brought to her through the thousands of dollars that is raised for the Warriors for Tim foundation.

This year is a transition year for Warriors for Tim basketball shoot-out, as Tim would have graduated with last year’s senior class.

“This relationship with Tim’s mother meant a lot to his graduating class,” Mr. Balkit said.  

“It is up to the committee to keep up the tradition without the guidance of his closest friends,” said Mr. Balkit, “Especially because his name is not as known.”  

The Warriors for Tim goal remains “to keep the community aware that we still care about them and support them in hard times even after time passes,” said Mr. Balkit.

“I have found it incredible to see how much good can come from one bad situation,” Burke said.