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Neighborhood pick-up basketball game turned into $15,000 fundraiser

Posted at 2:20 AM, May 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-27 02:20:01-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Walk down any neighborhood street and you can find basketball hoops everywhere.

Berryman Drive in Synder is one of those neighborhoods and is also the birthplace of The Berryman Drive Fiesta Bowl. It started as a simple pick-up game five years ago with Nick Revelas and his friends.

"Here on Berryman Drive we are a close tight-knit family," Revelas said. "We wanted to bring people together and have some fun."

Over the years the event has grown and evolved. From being a 12 person show to over 350 player tournament, this year's event doesn't fit on Berryman Drive and will be held at three locations across the city on June 8th. Last year the 3v3 basketball tournament raised $15,000 for Horizon Health.

"We are not just about bringing people together but making a real change," Revelas said.

The real change is ending the stigma surrounding mental health. In 2017, the community lost a close friend, Devin Waring to suicide. Ever since, Revelas has used this event to put a special focus on mental health awareness.

Owen Waring, Devin's younger brother, says Devin didn't show any signs of depression and was about to go into the Marine Corp. He says he thinks this event is a start to help make it easier for teens to start the conversation about mental health.

"As a male teenager you want to appear strong, nothing is wrong, I can keep it together no matter how hard life is," Waring said. "Even we found out with Devin, the strongest kids they go through a lot of hard times."

Revelas and his friends also went to Sacred Heart, Amherst, Canisus, St. Joe's, and Nardin High Schools to have a conversation about mental health. The event has grown so much that Nick's sister, Savannah, has started a women's division. There will be 20 girls teams for this year's event.

Revelas is a sophomore at John Carroll University as a Marketing and Communications major. He says he hopes to continue the event and to reach more schools if he can.

This year's tournament is full for this year but people can still donate on their website.