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I recently launched a campaign on Crowdtilt.com for three Jesuit Junior Marauder boys to travel to the Shriner’s Hospital  Shrine Bowl in Florida.  In less than nine days, we raised $3,000.

Setting the campaign up was easy, thanks to the expert help of Crowdtilt co-founder James Beshara and Public Relations lead Marek Zareba.  The guys at Crowdtilt.com are truly amazing — Marek even donated some of his own money to the campaign.  The campaign allowed people to donate directly or share the link with their own social network, so the message to raise funds for the cause spread like wildfire.  The Jesuit Junior Marauders'  Campaign Page had links to photos, videos and a running total of the money raised.

With Crowdtilt up and running for fundraising, the football team was booked on the Good Day Sacramento show for additional exposure before the bowl game.  The clip aired just one week before the team played the game in Florida on December 2nd.  You can see just how excited the boys were to get this opportunity when you see them on camera.

Fundraising was critical to the success of the Shrine Bowl game.  Three of the players on the team would not have been able to travel to play in the game without the fundraising effort.  Unlike other types of fundraising, this was extremely short notice – and while family and friends were a part of the donation effort, with the help of Crowdtilt, the group reached out to random strangers who really made a difference.  Every donation, even the $5 to $10 donations, helped the football all-stars to reach their fundraising goal.

Social media helped personalize the fundraising effort — a Facebook Page was dedicated to the cause, with bios written by the players themselves.  The trio was selected from the undefeated Jesuit Junior Marauder Squad, as part of a 44 player all-star team to represent California at the 2012 Shrine Bowl in Florida.

The fundraising effort was a success, and the California All-Stars posted an impressive 39-12 win against the Florida All-Stars at the Shrine Bowl played at the Florida Citrus Bowl.  The team effort was made possible with the help of some amazing plays by the boys who otherwise would not have been able to travel the distance.  The speed and agility of defensive back Derrick Thomas helped the team against Florida's offense.  Mason LaFond had an interception with a 45-yard run back and Antonio Hernandez had a onside kick recovery to help the team gain yards and maintain possession.

The team simply would have not been able to have the success it did without the help of the fundraising effort, which allowed Mason, Antonio and Derrick to travel to the game.  These boys are developing into young men their families and their communities can be proud of – and they had the experience of a lifetime.  There were not the only ones who left with something valuable.

The real winners in the Florida Citrus Bowl are the children at Shriners Hospitals, whose families would not otherwise be able to afford life-changing medical care.