This year marks the 14th annual Battle the Blitz Fundraiser, hosted by Ohio University physical therapy majors. However, due to COVID-19, this year’s fundraiser is taking on a different format.
Normally, students and OU alumni can compete in teams or groups in a tournament-style format in which the winning team will earn money for funding and awareness for adaptive sports.
The event also features raffles and other prizes people can win to raise money as well as free-will donations.
The teams typically compete against the Buckeye Blitz rugby team, which consists of all quadriplegic players. The event is held to raise money for the team.
“It’s usually a really good time and we make really good connections,” Jeremy Finton, the co-director of the Paralympic Sports Club in Columbus and a member of Buckeye Blitz, said.
Not only does the event typically benefit the Buckeye Blitz team, it also helps the OU physical therapy majors gain a better understanding of quadriplegic patients.
“By it being online, they lose some of the experience of seeing us and getting to know what our lives are like,” Finton said.
While the news of the event not being held in person is difficult for those involved, the fundraiser has found a way to still go on.
“We still want to support the team like we do every year,” Holly Bernhold, president of Battle the Blitz Fundraiser, said.
She and several other physical therapy majors have created a website that outlines some of what the event will entail this year. Instead of a traditional tournament, the group is hosting an event where people can either walk, run, or roll if they are in a wheelchair for a full 5K and post a picture of their progress on social media.
“Doing this virtual 5K we can still promote adaptive sports and allow more people than ever to get active,” Berhold said.
They are continuing their free-will donations through a GoFundMe account along with raffles created by the many sponsors of the event.
“I think it’s really cool that they are still holding this event virtually,” Maggie Old, a junior studying visual communications said in a message. “It shows everyone’s commitment to raising money for OU Quad Rugby, all while educating others who might not know much about it.”
Funds this year are still going to the Buckeye Blitz team, as well as more awareness and advertising for their team as more posts go up online.
“It really gives us a big boost,” Finton said. “While we don’t get to physically see and meet people, we still get to see the community’s commitment to us.”
Many have already begun to post their progress on the 5K, which not only makes Finton and his team happy but also makes the physical therapy majors happy.
While the event being online may lose some of the physical connection, it is still showing to have many positive benefits to the community.
“The big point of our event being online is to be able to spread it to more people and get more people involved,” Bernhold said.