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Derek Hudson

Monday, March 8, 2010 was the day that would change my family, and my hometown forever.  This was the day that the community of Hudson, New Hampshire lost Zachary Thompkins.  Zachary had died in his sleep at the young age of 11.  The cause of his death was an unknown and undiagnosed syndrome called Long QT, which he had inherited.  Zachary’s death rocked my family.  As a family that was heavily involved in the local sports, we knew the Thompkins family well and my brother was close to Zachary’s age.  I had played on the same baseball team as his brother, and now he was gone.

            Shortly after Zachary’s passing, the family created a memorial fund to build a stadium in his honor.  While this may seem out of the norm, it turns out that Zachary himself had drawn a model of what he wanted the stadium to look like and even gave it the name of “Hudson-Litchfield Zach’s Stadium, Home of the Bears.”  The family, and community have taken it upon ourselves to provide Zachary with his ultimate dream.  According to the website, he wanted this dream stadium to be designed so that his football team, the Hudson-Litchfield Bears, could play there. 

            In order to raise the funds necessary to complete this project, many fundraisers had to be researched, organized, and performed.  Since 2010, many events like selling raffle tickets, putting on a 5k charity race, and asking for donations have been done to raise money to build Zachary’s stadium.  Although these three ways of fundraising are the most common, I believe that raising money through the sale of raffle tickets has been the most beneficial to the cause. 

            As a result of the constant selling of raffle tickets at numerous local sporting events and gatherings, the Thompkins family has continued to raise money to give their son his dream.  While they are still looking for the correct amount of land and a perfect location, the support and comradery of the community has greatly benefitted everyone involved.  Raising money by selling raffle tickets has allowed the family and community to move towards a feeling of closure. 

            For me, the experience of losing someone so young in the athletic community has been difficult.  Zachary’s passing made me realize that life is very short and that we never know when we will be taken.  I always tell myself what I will do tomorrow, next week, or next year, but Zachary inspired me to accomplish the goals I have for tomorrow, today.  The fundraising and raffle ticket sales have helped me to realize the power of community.  People giving their hard-earned money for a cause that they could sympathize with is an extraordinary thing.  That if a town acts together to accomplish a greater good then it will be accomplished.  This March will be the sixth year anniversary of Zachary’s passing and the stadium should be built within the near future but I am certain that the generosity that has been displayed by the community must make him smile upon us.