SHEFFIELD TWP. — Last year, Brad Anderson, a fixture within the Clearview community, was diagnosed with non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. Without a liver transplant, he would surely die.
A fund was started in his name for donations to help Anderson get the needed transplant, along with his growing medical expenses, and it is still active to this day.
However, Clearview senior Ryan Vargo, a classmate and friend of Anderson’s youngest son, Chad, decided that more could be done to help raise money for Anderson’s cause.
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This Friday at 6 p.m., with the blessing of Anderson and his family and the Clearview School District, Vargo, along with his friend Andrew Hoch, is putting on a basketball all-star festival, featuring many Clearview athletes from different sports and other Clearview teachers and coaches. Admission is $3, with all proceeds going toward the Anderson fund. A jar will be set up for additional donations to go toward Anderson.
“I was just outside one day shooting around a little bit a couple days after the NBA’s All-Star Weekend, and I thought it would be cool to do something like that here at Clearview,” said Vargo, a football and baseball player for the Clippers. “I thought we could do something like this within the Clearview community and use it to raise money for charity. I immediately thought of Brad Anderson, since I’m teammates with Chad in football and baseball and I’ve known the family for a long time.
“I told my idea to all my coaches, the athletic director and the principal, and they all thought it was a really good idea and that they would support that for sure. I told the Anderson family about it, and they’ve been real supportive about it as well.”
Clearview athletic director Dan May was pleased about all aspects of the upcoming event.
“It’s another student-driven activity that kind of incorporates the family atmosphere of Clearview High School that will benefit the Brad Anderson Fund,” May said. “He told me his idea early last week, and while I was at (state) wrestling, we finalized it through back-and-forth conversations.
“We wanted to wait until basketball was over and before baseball and softball started. It’s a good opportunity to get everyone together one more time in an early spring setting to celebrate Clearview athletics and raise some money for a cause we all believe in.”
While Vargo was in the planning stages for the event, he found out that Anderson, who is still on the waiting list for a liver transplant, had to be rushed back to the hospital a few days ago.
“Chad told me (Monday) that he’s back in the hospital, which makes me feel like this needs to be done even more,” Vargo said. “I think it’s definitely going to be a cool, fun event highlighting what’s good about our community, raising money and awareness for a great cause.”
Anderson said that his dad got out of the hospital Wednesday and is recovering well.
“When Ryan told me about his idea, I told him thanks for setting this up,” Anderson said. “Ryan, Andrew and I have been good friends for a long time. It’s for a good cause and we appreciate the thought tremendously. I’ll be taking part in it — the all-star game itself and the skills challenge.
“To know what Clearview has done for us means everything. The whole community has meant everything to us. It makes a world of difference to know what this school and community did for us. It helps us out a lot and I’m thankful to be a part of it.”
Like the NBA All-Star festivities, there will be a “shooting stars” competition, a 3-point shootout and a dunk contest, featuring various athletes and coaches from Clearview, highlighted by the boys and girls basketball teams. After those events, there will be an all-star basketball game, featuring any athlete wishing to participate.
Vargo said it wasn’t hard to find athletes who wanted to participate. Hoch, the grandson of late Clearview football coach Tom Hoch, was brought on to assist with staging the contests and picking the rosters for the two all-star teams.
“I’m playing in the all-star game, so I didn’t want it to look like I was biased toward the team I was playing on,” Vargo said. “Andrew has been a tremendous help with this. I think it should be a fun time.”
May said this is not the first thing Clearview has done to help promote awareness to the Brad Anderson Fund.
“Last summer, we had a car show, and we did a cancer awareness thing during one of the football games, selling Brad Anderson T-shirts,” May said. “It goes on and on and on — car washes, bake sales throughout the fall. Most of these events have been put on by Clearview students.
“The Clearview family has been getting together throughout the year to help. Amy and Brad have been huge parts of the Clearview family for so long, not that we owe it to them, but we’re always happy to help whenever possible.”
Clearview principal Franco Gallo echoed his AD’s thoughts.
“Andrew Hoch and Ryan Vargo wanted to do something to help the Anderson family,” Gallo said. “I want the students to feel free to bring ideas to me and share and, if they are reasonable, I support them. Now that the (winter) season is over and we are in between seasons, it was the perfect time to do something like this event.
“Students will get a chance to show off their talents in front of their peers and that is always fun. I am glad to see the students take initiative for a good cause.”
May said there is already a buzz in the school about the All-Star Festival.
“Just in talking to some of the students and student-athletes in the hallway, they’re excited,” May said. “It will involve some non-basketball players and coaches, which is nice. We’ll see some egos get bruised I’m sure, but it will be a good atmosphere Friday night, a good fundraiser for the Andersons and a fun way to end a successful winter season for Clearview.”
Vargo is hopeful that this type of all-star festival becomes a Clearview tradition long after he graduates.
“I’d love to see the underclassmen step up and continue this as a type of tradition,” he said. “I think it definitely could be something that continues for different charities, if not for continued support of Brad Anderson.”
May believes it could continue.
“It definitely has that ability,” he said. “A few years before I came here, they did a student-faculty game that raised money for charity, and this kind of fits that same mold. But it also gets more people involved. The more kids you have involved, the more attendance we should have, which obviously benefits Brad and Amy, which is our end goal.”
Chad Anderson expects a good time to be had by all.
“I’m hoping to see a lot of people come out and watch and have a good time,” he said. “Hopefully we can put on a good show.”
For more information about the event contact Clearview High School at 233-6313.
“We just encourage the Lorain and Lorain County community to come out and support this great cause,” May said. “There are all kinds of people connected to this and this is another great opportunity to celebrate the Clearview family and community with a great, fun night of basketball.”
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.