Denver Nuggets’ Tim and Negah Connelly host charity fundraiser to support local youth

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer

A simple swing set in the local playground can make a child's day.

For many children that suffer from disabilities, that joy can be taken away from them. At the third annual ping pong-themed charity fundraiser on Wednesday, Sept. 25th, all proceeds will go to the LuBird’s Light Foundation, which focuses on giving kids a chance to be kids by bringing inclusion to playgrounds all around the Denver area.

“We’re super excited for the return of Denver’s most laid-back charity event,” Denver Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly told “And unbelievably honored to be associated with LuBird’s Light Foundation, the work they are doing in our area is fantastic. The impact that they are making, by ensuring all kids can enjoy the fun that a playground offers, has been huge. It will be a fun night for a great cause.”

The night will allow fans to socialize with local Denver athletes and TV personalities that will be in attendance, along with the Connellys, who have continued their drive and support of charities that support children.

"Anything children related is near and dear to my heart,” said Negah Connelly. “Every year all the organizations we raise money for are geared towards helping children.”

After being introduced to Juliet Dawkins, the founder of LuBird’s Light Foundation, Negah heard the inspiration behind the foundation and went all in on finding a way to support the foundation’s mission.

LuBird’s Light Foundation was founded in honor of Juliet’s daughter Lucia, affectionately called “LuBird.” Lucia was born with a rare genetic condition called Pallister Killian Syndrome (or PKS) and is affected from head to toe. Despite being nonverbal, in a wheelchair, legally blind and more, the foundation’s website states that “she has always been a beautiful shining light to her family”, which speaks to her name, as Lucia is Latin for light.

“Juliet told me that she had never seen her daughter smile, which was unheard of to me since that’s what toddlers and young kids do all the time,” said Negah. After taking Lucia to a local swing set and seeing a big smile on her face, Juliet decided it was time to take action. After she called the city of Denver to find out how many playgrounds were in the city (176), Juliet revealed that the foundation planned to donate an inclusive swing set to each and every playground.

“Juliet told me that a playground is to a kid what a bar is to an adult. It's where you go to socialize and meet people,” Negah revealed. “No kid should be restricted from that because they are disabled. So now the foundation is in the process of building playgrounds all around Denver that are accessible for all children. They're really making a huge impact for children and making sure that no child is left out."

The foundation focuses on bringing wheelchair swings, wheelchair accessible merry go-rounds and more to existing playgrounds in Denver.

Attendees of the event will not only raise funds for an important cause but will get the chance to cheer on their favorite sports celebrities in the ping pong challenge. In addition to Tim and Negah Connelly, Jamal Murray and Monte Morris will be in attendance. Bradley Chubb and Ryan Harris of the Denver Broncos will also be at the event.

The event kicks off at the Exdo Event Center at 6:30 p.m. MT next Wednesday. To purchase tickets for the event, click here.


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