Jun 21, 2012, 6:57 PM EDT
A.J. Rompza wrapped up his playing career at UCF a couple of months ago, but the game of basketball remains a major part of his life.
And through basketball Rompza is looking to help out the family of a 4-year old dealing with an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Rompza’s skills camp runs from July 20-22, and part of the proceeds from the camp will be donated to the family of Caitlin Downing, helping them offset some of the costs that come with fighting her illness.
Rompza read about Caitlin and decided that he needed to help. And after promising fans that he would begin a camp after his career at UCF was finished, what better way to both uphold a promise and help a family in need?
“Most people his age are looking for jobs,” Jeff Downing (Caitlin’s father) said. “I’m sure he could use the money right now, but he’s donating a portion of it to us and that’s completely amazing. … We were humbled, we were ecstatic and we were very surprised. We’re all UCF fans and know who he is, but it still came out of the blue.”
Setting up the camp wasn’t an easy task for Rompza, who had to go through the process of getting the camp insured and printing up T-shirts, water bottles and other items that the campers would need.
“It was so much harder than I ever imagined, but I wasn’t going to back off my promise,” Rompza told Iliana Limon of the Orlando Sentinel. “I told people I would do it, and I was going to find a way to make it happen.”
While Rompza’s camp is a good opportunity for kids to learn from a former Division I athlete, it’s also a good opportunity for them (and their parents) to play a small role in helping out a child dealing with a terrible illness.
Sometimes basketball can be used to offer a benefit far more important (and rewarding) than learning how to shoot a ball through a basket.
Photo credit: Orlando Sentinel
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