Greenwich native, Columbus Blue Jackets’ Atkinson once again Keeping Hope Alive

Greenwich native and Columbus Blue Jackets’ Cam Atkinson poses for a photo outside of Magaschoni during last year’s Keep Hope Alive fund-raiser that benefited the Marty Lyons Foundation.. — John Ferris Robben photo

Greenwich native and Columbus Blue Jackets’ Cam Atkinson poses for a photo outside of Magaschoni during last year’s Keep Hope Alive fund-raiser that benefited the Marty Lyons Foundation. — John Ferris Robben photo

Greenwich native and Columbus Blue Jackets’ forward Cam Atkinson is just as excited for tomorrow’s highly successful Keep Hope Alive fund-raiser as he was during last year’s inaugural event.

Although this year’s event is bigger and more time has been put into making the Keep Hope Alive Festival as successful as it is, that doesn’t mean Atkinson isn’t having a blast organizing it.

“It’s a lot of fun doing this,” Atkinson said. “Any time you could give back, especially for sick children that need it, is amazing. There’s not a more humbling thing an athlete can do and I am fortunate enough to be in a situation to give back. I feel like it’s my duty to give back. With the help of my family donating a lot of their time to help put this together and organize it, I couldn’t ask for any more.”

During last year’s event, Atkinson had close to a month to plan it and it was a solid turnout, netting more than $16,000 for the Marty Lyons Foundation. Atkinson had three months to plan this year’s event and he has made the most of it.

Friday’s event will take place at the Old Town Hall in Stamford, at 175 Atlantic St., and will be held in the evening, from 7 to 10.

“We switched over from our location in Greenwich to the Old Town Hall in Stamford because it’s an indoor venue and it’s more professional,” Atkinson said. “We are targeting more of the corporate groups this time as well. We are bringing in arcade games for kids to play and we have about six different local food venues that have donated their food for the night. Drinks were donated as well, so it seems like everybody wants to be a part of this. It’s great that we are bigger and better.”

Just like last year, National Hockey League and American Hockey League players will be on hand to sign autographs and take pictures. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis, New York Islanders’ Matt Moulson, St. Louis Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk, Anaheim Ducks’ Nick Bonino, Buffalo Sabres’ Nathan Gerbe, Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick, Toronto Maple Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk, New York Rangers’ Dave Maloney, Derick Brassard and Chris Kreider, Montreal Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty, Edmonton Oilers’ Marc Arcobello, Chicago Black Hawks’ Jimmy Hayes and Ben Smith, as well as Sacred Heart University athletic director and Stamford legend Bobby Valentine are all scheduled to appear.

In addition to the stars in attendance, the mascots from the Springfield Falcons and Bridgeport Sound Tigers will be on hand to greet guests. Keeping with the fan-friendly theme, the Keep Hope Alive event will house games such as ping pong, tutor shooter, double shot basketball, Toyoko drift, bubble hockey, air hockey and more.

Food will be donated by Asiana, Joey B’s, Bobby Valentines, Bobby Q’s, Rico’s Pizza, Columbus Park, Black Forest Bakery and Sweet Lisa’s. Refreshments will be provided by Val’s Liquor and Half Full Brewery.

Currently the Keep Hope Alive event has raised nearly $33,000 for the Marty Lyons Foundation and even more will be coming in during the event.

“It’s going to have a great turnout and we have a lot of support this year,” Atkinson said.

The event benefits the Marty Lyons Foundation, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of children ages three through 17 diagnosed with life-threatening or terminal illnesses.

Tickets for the event are $250 per guest and $2,500 for a group of 12. There are also several different sponsorship levels. For more information, either email Tom Atkinson at [email protected], call 203-253-3392 or contact Mary Ann Canapi, executive director of the Marty Lyons Foundation, at 212-977-9474 or [email protected]

To help Atkinson raise money for the Marty Lyons Foundation, visit Firstgiving.com/fundraiser/camatkinsonkeephopealive

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