Raleigh bocce ball tournament raises money for Cystic Fibrosis research

RALEIGH, N.C. (CBS North Carolina) – Sunday, under sunny skies, teams rolled for a cure at the Cardinal Gibbons High School football field for the 9th Annual Joey O. Bocce Classic.

The tournament celebrates the life of Joe O’Connell who died of Cystic Fibrosis in November 2009 at the age of 32.

bocce ballCystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder causing severe damage to the lungs and digestive system. Life expectancy for those with Cystic Fibrosis is the late 30s or early 40s.

Loved ones want to change that; they said they roll for a cure and to keep O’Connell’s legacy alive, especially for his daughter, Piper.

“We want to cure this disease and make it be—(make) Cystic Fibrosis stand for ‘Cure Found’, not Cystic Fibrosis,” said Elena O’Connell, Joey’s mother and chair of the event.

O’Connell said every year the event grows bigger and bigger as more people across the Triangle decide to form teams to compete in the games.

“They hear about it. They always play and they always come back because it’s a really fun event,” she told CBS North Carolina.

Fun aside, the O’Connell family doesn’t want the public to lose sight of why the event occurs every year.

“We want people to know what Cystic Fibrosis is, how you get tested for it and make sure that everybody is finding a way to meet a doctor that’s going to find Cystic Fibrosis in them and be able to help them,” O’Connell stressed.

The last eight classics have raised nearly $250,000, according to organizers.

One hundred percent of the tournament’s proceeds will go toward Cystic Fibrosis research and programs.

If you’d like to make a donation or learn more about the search to find a cure, click here.


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