In an effort to familiarize his North Carolina classmates with wheelchair basketball, a 12-year-old boy was working to raise funds for the event when he was robbed of his fund-raising cash.
Nolan Turner was born with spina bifida and had recently gotten involved with the sport which changed his life. His classmates had repeatedly asked about it and Nolan decided to see if he could raise enough money to stage a game locally so they could witness it firsthand.
With his mother, Amy Moore, watching over him from indoors due to her allergies that day, Nolan sat out front of his Cary, N.C. home on March 22 collecting donations. A stranger approached and made idle conversation before snatching the cash jar and making off into the woods with about $250.
Nolan screamed but the man got away. His mother didn’t even realize what had happened until she saw Nolan yelling and then putting his head down on his table. When she went outside, he told her he’d been robbed. Police located the jar with about $100 in change still inside but the cash gone. They continue to search for the man.
Nolan’s goal was to raise $1000 to host a wheelchair basketball event at his Briarwood Elementary School conducted by Bridge II Sports, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping adults and children with challenges be able to play individual and team sports.
Just after the theft, another man approached Nolan and learning of the theft, gave him $60. Since then, as the outside world learned of what happened to Nolan, the support, both emotional and financial, has been overwhelming. His fundraising efforts have now surpassed $25,000. One cruel act has elicited thousands of kind ones.
Turner couldn’t be happier. His classmates will be able to see a wheelchair basketball game close up and personal. Bridges II Sports will host a full-day event at Nolan’s school where the kids can even try the sport out themselves. The extra money will be used to help fund Camp Carefree events. Camp Carefree is a one-week summer camp program for kids with various health problems, which Nolan has attended in the past.
Why is wheelchair basketball so important to Nolan? His mother explains that as they were eating pizza after his very first game, Nolan commented that playing made him feel like a normal person. He’s always been the oddity and this is a place where he can compete and feel good.
Undaunted by his experience, Nolan will next attempt fundraising for track and field wheelchairs which can cost $5000 each. He told his mother he was going to become the Martin Luther King, Jr. of the disabled. Way to go, Nolan.