Youth Voice Corner: Nick Revelas
***CONTENT WARNING*** This article contains information about suicide, which may be upsetting or a trigger to some people. If you or someone you know is suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.”
There is nothing that unites us more than the power of sports, and I have had the privilege of using basketball to try to inspire hope and change in our community. My name is Nick Revelas and I am currently a junior attending John Carroll University. Growing up on a dead-end street in Buffalo, my relationship with my neighbors has been very close, and I always looked for ways to bring us together.
Six years ago, I started a basketball game with my neighbor known as The Berryman Drive Fiesta Bowl. It was a fun block party atmosphere and was a creative way for my neighbors to come together and watch some bad basketball. We used the event in the early years to help some charitable causes near and dear to our neighbors, donating funds to the WNY Alzheimer’s Association and Tigers Den Food Pantry. The event was just a small little get together, but that would all change in December 2017.
On December 16, 2017, I lost a close friend of mine, Devin Waring to suicide. Our entire friend group was shocked that something like this could happen because I went my whole time through high school without hearing the words suicide or mental health. I was able to use the Fiesta Bowl platform as a way to help our hurting community, and I transformed the event into a three-on-three basketball tournament to try and help break the stigma high school and college kids have about discussing mental health.
Basketball is such a simple game, but since Devin’s passing, this event has created a meaningful way to talk about the issue of mental health. To have hundreds of high school and college students out there competing with their friends and hearing about these problems is a resource I wish Devin and the many we have lost since then knew more about. I have raised over $75,000 for this cause and I am currently planning my next big event, to break the world record for the longest basketball game this August. For anyone out there struggling, know that there are resources across WNY available and that the power of sports can have a meaningful impact on the ones you love.