Tragedy to Triumph
Help Build the Bruin Field House
How one family who lost their daughter to suicide celebrated her 18th birthday issuing a donation challenge to benefit female athletes for generations to come
Louisville, KY – Adrian and Sara Oliver will never forget the tragic November days they had to say goodbye to their daughter, Mary Glenn. Since their daughter's passing in Fall of 2017, they found creative ways to give back as they announced the Mary Glenn Memorial Match challenging others to $5,000 gifts for the Bruin Fieldhouse at Ballard High School in East Louisville.
"Mary Glenn would've loved to have that locker room space with her lacrosse friends, and we would've enjoyed that for her and her teammates – and anyone visiting the Ballard fields. She would've wanted it and she would've had all kinds of fun opinions about how it should be decorated. We want to see this happen for her friends and the wonderful families we've met along the way," said Sara Oliver, as she explained the $5,000 gift she and Adrian were donating to establish a challenge for other families and businesses to do the same.
Chris Kinney, Ballard High School athletic director, said one family has already stepped up in response as the second $5,000 donor in the Mary Glenn Memorial Match. These families and others who respond will be honored together in signage on the building and future promotions, unless they request anonymity. "The team of volunteers working to raise the final funds to build the field house connected to the field hockey and lacrosse fields for female athletes, guests, and fans, tell me they're hoping for a significant grant in April and then could break ground. Now is the time for families to get on board at this level or for other potential sponsors who could give at the leadership level to step up," he said.
The field house will include bathrooms, "which will be a welcome change from the current portalet option," according to Field Hockey Head Coach Shelby Daeschner, as well as a drinking fountain and outdoor shower, "which is important to prevent heat related illnesses, and a small locker room area for home teams to change before and after games." Development Committee Member Dick White said, "this air conditioned, concrete block building will be built to last for the Louisville and Ballard communities to enjoy for generations. It’s intended to be a statement to our female athletes that they’re valued and their hard work is important." Mary Glenn played lacrosse and her classmates are seniors this year.
Ballard’s Principal, Jason Neuss, has long-term campus beautification investment plans, so this Bruin Field House is just the beginning. "I'm very excited about this project and eager to see it come to fruition," he said. White said $70,000 has been raised toward a $195,000 leadership gift goal. The Oliver family's Mary Glenn Memorial Match is a sweet step in the right direction.
Not only are Oliver family and friends looking forward to lasting positive changes like the building of the Bruin Field House, but they also take time to look back and celebrate Mary Glenn's life. Gathered at their home on February 13, which would have been Mary Glenn's 18th birthday, they released lanterns and told stories. Mary Glenn was an organ and tissue donor, and the day before the birthday celebration, the Olivers received word about how that, too, had made a positive difference in the world. "Over 100 families have extended their children's lives or their own lives from donations of Mary Glenn. It couldn't have been better timing for us to get such good news at the anniversary of her birth," Sara told the group. See video here: https://www.facebook.com/adrian.oliver.1297/videos/10218210889921041/.
"Whether becoming an organ donor, educating yourself and loved ones about mental health and suicide, or helping build something for a cause that matters to you and your family, the Oliver family sets a high example and challenges us all to do better," said White. To make a tax-deductible gift to the Bruin Field House project as a leadership sponsor with payment plans through the next two calendar years, or to respond to the $5,000 challenge the Oliver family and others are contributing to for the Mary Glenn Memorial Match, visit BallardFieldHockey.com/Donate or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Ballard High School Athletic Director Chris Kinney, Varsity Field Hockey Coach Shelby Daeschner, Development Committee Members Kristan White and Dick White receive the donation from Adrian and Sara Oliver triggering the Mary Glenn Memorial Match, as Development Committee Member Jon Beam looks on.