Ronny is on the stage with the 2 MC’s. Sitting are the two Pro Paintballers who were the Generals – Nick Slowiak from Chicago (in red) and Colt Roberts from Texas ( in blue). Ultimately Ronny joined Nick’s team on Sunday and this was Nick and everyone cheering that Ronny was going to play and had joined his team .

Turiaf Continues To Give Back, This Time With C4C

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Wolves center Ronny Turiaf has worked toward brightening the days of Twin Cities’ kids since his first day with the organization—literally. His introductory press conference as held at the Ronald McDonald House near the University of Minnesota campus, and later that day he held a special film screening for the moving Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.

Helping young kids who are going through difficult medical conditions is near and dear to Turiaf. He’s been through it before. As a young athlete just drafted into the NBA out of Gonzaga, he underwent successful open heart surgery. As a result, he vowed to help others who are going through similar struggles—especially kids. That’s when he first introduced his own Heart 2 Heart Foundation.

“I’m looking forward to spending more time here, because I really value giving back to the community because I never had that chance growing up,” Turiaf said in his introductory press conference. “So for me to be able to do it, I told my mom and my dad that I’m very happy to do that. That makes me proud giving back.”

On Sunday, Turiaf took part in another local initiative geared toward helping young kids in our community. He attended the sixth annual Challenge for Children’s (C4C), an event that raises money for the Children’s hospitals in Minnesota—specifically the cardiovascular unit. The event, held at MN Pro Paintball in Lakeville, raised money through a paintball event that, this year, housed more than 700 players and spectators.

The C4C event raised $100,000 this year for its mission, adding to its total of $270,000 over the first five years. The money will go toward the simulation center being built at the hospital where doctors and nurses can practice patient simulations to hone their skills and continue providing the best care possible.

C4C was founded by the MN Pro Paintball CEO Matt Ames after he had his second pacemaker put in. Ames was born with a congenital heart defect and has received care at Children’s from the start. He still gets care there today as a 30-year-old and wanted to give back to the organization for helping him through the years.

The Challenge for Children’s crew was incredibly appreciative of Turiaf taking part in the event, and he certainly left a lasting impact on the kids and spectators on hand. Turiaf took part in an afternoon paintball matchup, and he put his youthful excitement on display in the process.

For Turiaf, it was another opportunity to give back.

“He was so humble about it and so excited to be part of it and to support someone else who was out there for the same cause,” said C4C board member Claire Ferrara. “They were cheering for him, they were fighting over which team he was on.”

Ferrara initially had the idea to contact Turiaf about the Challenge for Children’s event after reading the Star Tribune’s story last fall on Turiaf and Fred Hoiberg supporting each other as they each went through their open-heart surgeries in 2005.

Fast forward to Sunday, and there Turiaf was high-fiving the kids in his paintball game and thoroughly enjoying the chance to support others for a cause very dear to him.

Ferrara said they were incredibly happy he was able and willing to share his day with them.

“He told me that he re-arranged stuff in his schedule so he could make it, because he wanted to come out and see what we were doing,” Ferrara said. “This is a pretty unique event. It’s fun for the family, and it’s fun for the 700 people who came out even on a rainy day.”

That was Ames’ goal. When someone goes through a heart issue, that person’s family goes through it with them. This paintball event is tailored toward involving the whole family, too.

Throughout the day, the event provided paintball games plus food, a beer garden, a silent auction, Humvee rides, games for kids, heart-shaped cookie decoration stations and more.

C4C used “It’s for the kids” as its slogan, and Turiaf was more than happy to take part in it.

“It’s important,” Ferrara said of the event’s mission. “We couldn’t be happier he came.”