ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – When the boys and girls basketball teams from local parishes begin to play in the 9th annual Mary McDermott Tournament at Immacolata, they won’t know who Mary is, or what these games mean. But Bill McDermott and his wife, Connie, always end the final games with a short speech to the third-grade players to explain it to them.
“They are so pleased because they now realize why they were participating in the particular tournament because we give them a little story about Mary and what she meant to Immacolata and what she did at Cardinal Glennon,” McDermott says.
He’ll talk about her birth, more than 30 years ago, and how she needed five different heart and liver surgeries in just the first few weeks of her life.
Next he’ll talk about her passion for sports and all the great memories of Mary, her twin sister and her older sister all playing for Immacolata’s soccer, basketball, softball and volleyball teams.
And then he’ll explain how great of a place Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital is. How amazing the people are that work there. And how without them, they probably wouldn’t have gotten those 24-years years with Mary.
The basketball tournament has raised $332,000 to date, and McDermott says the goal is $1.5 million. Once reached, they’ll be able to name the Cardiac Hybrid Catheterization Suite at Cardinal Glennon, which helped Mary so many time, in her honor.
The tournament begins this Thursday at 11 a.m. and continues with games through Sunday, December 30. Throughout the extended weekend there will be silent auctions for autographed jerseys, sport memorabilia, and more, including:
– Signed St. Louis Cardinals Dexter Fowler jersey
– Signed St. Louis Blues Vladimir Tarasenko jersey
– Signed U.S. Soccer Women’s National Team Becky Sauerbrunn jersey
– Signed Barcelona Lionel Messi jersey
– Four tickets to a 2018 Notre Dame football game
– One week’s stay at Playa del Carmen luxury hotel in Mexico
The items can also be bid on through an online auction, here.
When Mary passed away suddenly in 2008, parishioners at Immacolata wanted to honor Mary’s life and created a tournament for third grade girls and boys. Now in its ninth year, this event gives many of these kids their first opportunity to play basketball together on a team.
“And if we can, in a public fashion, announce to the world, to the St. Louis community, what this young woman meant to us as a family, in just those short 24 years, the absolute joy she brought to everyone, we are going to continue to do just that and are going to continue to do that as often as possible,” McDermott says. “And that’s why we do it, to honor her memory at Cardinal Glennon and to continue to raise funds to ensure quality healthcare for other boys and girls at Cardinal Glennon.”