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New England Women’s Pool Alliance raises $32k for Jimmy Fund/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Suad Kantarevic & Beau Powers

In 1947, Dr. Sidney Farber, after almost 20 years as a Pathology instructor at Harvard Medical School, a year as Chairman of Staff at the affiliated (Boston) Children’s Hospital and a recent (at the time) appointment as Pathologist-in-Chief at the hospital, began raising funds for cancer research. Focused primarily on what had become his specialty, diseases in children and infants, Farber’s research into a broad variety of childhood diseases led to his being considered the founder of pediatric pathology.

In partnership with the Variety Club of New England at the time, the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation (CCRF) was created and became one of the first nationwide fundraising campaigns to take full advantage of what was then, modern media outlets, like radio and a little later, television.  In its first year of fund-raising on the radio broadcast of Truth or Consequences in 1948, one of the first patients of the Foundation appeared on the show. He was 12-year-old Einer Gustafson, but to protect his privacy, he was nicknamed “Jimmy.” The nickname triggered the re-naming of the foundation to The Jimmy Fund. 

Though he’d already established himself as an important medical researcher in the field of Pediatric medicine, Farber’s recognition of the importance of marketing in the scientific advancement of knowledge about diseases led him to become not just a clinician, but a public research advocate, as well. His marketing efforts brought cancer into the public spotlight and propelled funding and awareness for cancer research for the remainder of the century and beyond, to this day.

Long known as one of the first charitable affiliations of the Boston Braves (later, the Boston Red Sox) and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association (among others), the Jimmy Fund continues the work it began almost 75 years ago. Thanks to the New England Women’s Pool Alliance (NEWPA), over $32,000 (and counting) has been added to the Jimmy Fund, through an event that began on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021 and will continue until the end of this month. 

The occasion for the initial donations was a “Pool for Jimmy” Scotch Doubles event, which drew 32 teams of two to the Crow’s Nest Pub & Grill in Plaistow, NH. Team donations, as well as donations from those who didn’t compete are ongoing at the event Web site –

Those who actually participated and those who made (and continue to make) a donation are “directly supporting the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s unique 50-50 balance between cutting-edge science and highly compassionate cancer care,” notes the Web site’s introduction to the fund-raising campaign. 

“Your support,” the Web site goes on to say, “allows Dana-Farber leaders to enhance programs and initiatives that serve pediatric and adult patients and their families.”

“Families” was the keyword in the Scotch Doubles event, as well, with the Minichiello brothers (Rich, Jr. and Mike), the father and son team of Everett and Daren Belliveau, the father and daughter team of Jeff and Jocelyn Bickford, the husband and wife team of Matt and Heidi Rezendes and the nephew/uncle team of Rick and Joe Matarazzo. The Minchello brothers’ father, Rich, died of cancer, as did Rick Matarrazo’s father and Joe Matarazzo’s brother.

Other family connections related to the fund-raising efforts included stream commentator, Mike DeMarco (a pancreatic cancer survivor), Jay Duffin (cancer survivor), Marc Dionne (tour director of the NE 9-Ball Series, whose father died of cancer), and Mark Morgan (whose father is currently undergoing cancer treatment). Katie Fiorilla, co-founder of the NEWPA, has spent the majority of her adult life in Oncology medical research, working toward developing treatments and cures for cancer. 

The team of Beau Powers and Suad Kantarevic ended up winning the event. Sent to the loss side by Team Minichiello in a double-hill, winners’ side semifinal, they returned after winning three matches on the loss side to down Team Minichiello 7-5 in the finals.

Each team in the event had a fundraising page, which has accounted for over $24,000 of the $32,678 raised, to date. An “Opportunity Drawing” and other donations have contributed to the cause. You can contribute to the fund-raising event, whose original goal was $20,000, by linking to the page noted above. 

Lower-bracket Downs holds off upper-bracket Emerson loss-side challenge on NE 9-Ball Series

Jordan Emerson, Andy Downs and Justin Bertrand

Jordan Emerson, initially competing in an upper bracket, almost made it back from a long loss-side run to win stop #11 on the New England 9-Ball Series, but Andy Downs, who began the tournament in the lower bracket, completed an undefeated run with two double hill victories in the hot seat match and finals to claim the event title. The $500-added event drew 36 entrants to Run ‘Em Racks in Johnston, RI on Saturday, May 8.

Downs began his title run the way he ended it, with a double hill win. He survived his opening match 5-4 over William Aley and then, defeated Joel Smith 5-3 and Ed Murray 7-2 to arrive at a winners’ side semifinal match against Heidi Rezendes. Meanwhile, Billy Lanna got by John Vitale 6-3 and then sent Jordan Emerson to the loss side 7-2 to draw Beau Powers in the other winners’ side semifinal.

Bertrand defeated Lanna, double hill (5-6), while Downs gave up only a single rack to Rezendes to join Betrand in the hot seat match. In a straight-up race to 6, Downs won his second double hill match of the tournament and claimed the hot seat over Bertrand.

On the loss side, Emerson had opened his journey back to the finals with 5-3 wins over Channing Thompson and Samantha Barrett. He then eliminated Clyde Matta, double hill, and Keith Platt 5-2, to draw Lanna, coming over from the winners’ side. Rezendes, in the meantime, drew Chuck Sampson, who’d defeated Ed Murray 5-3 and Kacey Devine 4-2 to reach her.

Over the next three matches, which would put him into the finals, Emerson gave up only four racks in 22 games. He gave up the first of those against Lanna, which put him in the quarterfinals against Rezendes, who’d survived a double hill bout versus Sampson.

Emerson gave up one more rack sending Rezendes to the proverbial showers in those quarterfinals and then, in his final hurdle to the finals, gave up two against Bertrand in the semifinals. 

Fargo Rate calculations would tell you that if Downs and Emerson faced off in a race to 6, 10 times, Emerson (with the higher Fargo rate; 575-527) would win seven times. They were apparently involved in one of the three percentage-hypothetical matches, because while Emerson battled him to double hill, Downs hung on to win the final game, set and match to claim the event title.

Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Run ‘Em Racks, as well as title sponsor Predator, Poison, Arcos II, BCAPL, USAPL New England, Fargo Rate, AzBilliards, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3 Cushion News, MJS Construction, Master Billiards, OTLVISE, Piku Tips and Just The Tip Cue Repair and Custom Accessories. The next stop on the NE 9-Ball Series (#12), scheduled for Sunday, May 16th, will be a $500-added Partners Tournament, hosted by House of Billiards in Hampton Falls, NH.

Father and son Gurevich win NE 9-Ball Series (Stop #9) Partners tournament

Lazar (father) and Alex (teenage son) Gurevich split the two sets of a double elimination final, taking the all-important last match against Ryan Hemingway and Matt Rezendes, to win the December 10 stop (#9; a partners event) on the New England 9-Ball Series. The event drew 66 entrants (33 teams of two) to Crow’s Nest in Plaistow, NH.
The father/son Gurevich team faced separate opponents in the hot seat and finals. They’d defeated Dan Simoneau and Ricky Bergevin 4-3 (Simoneau/Bergevin racing to 6) in one winners’ side semifinal, while John Collier and Paul Coorey shut out their eventual finals’ opponents, Hemingway and Rezendes. The Gureviches claimed the hot seat with a 6-3 win over Collier and Coorey.
On the loss side, Hemingway and Rezendes picked up Josh Grzasko and Peter Copland, who’d gotten by Amanda McDonald/Tyler Campbell 5-2, and George Morgan/Bill Phillips 4-3 (Morgan/Phillips, racing to 5). Simoneau/Bergevin drew “Fireball” Mike Dechaine and Matt Rezendes’ wife, Heidi, who’d defeated Dave Ty/Jeff Felix 7-3, and Jay (father) and Justin (son) Cunningham 7-2.
Both teams that were playing their first loss-side match downed the two teams that weren’t; Hemingway/Rezendes defeating Grzasko/Copland and Simoneau/Bergevin eliminating Dechaine and Heidi Rezendes, both 5-2.
In the quarterfinal match that followed, with Simoneau/Bergevin racing to 8, Hemingway and Rezendes defeated them 4-2. In the straight-up race to 5 in the semifinals against Collier and Coorey that followed that, Hemingway/Rezendes advanced again 5-1.
The intangible ‘momentum’ factor worked for Hemingway and Rezendes in the opening set of the true double elimination final, which they won over hot seat occupants Lazar and Alex Gurevich 4-2 (the Gurevich team racing to 6). In the second set, the Gurevich family gave up only a single rack, winning it 6-1 to claim the partners event title.
Tour director Marc Dionne thanked the ownership and staff at Crow’s Nest for their hospitality, as well as sponsors Ozone Billiards, Molinari, Bert Kinister, AZBilliards, Inside English, Professor Q-ball’s National Pool and 3-Cushion News, Delta 13 Racks, MJS Construction, Bob Campbell, Championship Cloth, and OTLVISE Billiard Mechanics of America.
The next stop (#10) on the 2017-2018 NE 9-Ball Series will be the Randy Marcotte Memorial. Scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16, the $500-added event will be hosted by Buster’s Billiards in Somersworth, NH.