Dan Schilke always tried to make the world a better place, and his friends are doing the same in his honor. Dan passed away in 2017 after a courageous battle with Ewing’s sarcoma. He was just a month away from turning 28 years young, but his impact on his friends, family, and the world around him will always be remembered.
Dan’s friends and family wanted to find a creative way to keep his memory and kindness alive — something that embodied Dan’s fun spirit. 2017 was also Dan’s 10-year high school reunion, so his friends and younger brother Tom gathered together for a big party and to brew a one-of-a-kind beer.
They celebrated Dan’s life with a citrus pale ale brewed with fruits from his mom’s house and had a heartfelt cheers in his honor. In making a 10-gallon batch of that beer, they raised over $2,000 in donations. While the original plan was to support Dan’s family with final care costs, support from The Limb Preservation Foundation already helped the family in that regard.
They decided to donate funds to the Limb Preservation Foundation and Banner Diamond Children’s Medical Center in Tucson. Dan was heartbroken by seeing young children and families in similar situations while he received care. It was an easy decision for his friends and family to pay it forward.
After Dan passed, his friend Nick Perez found comfort in getting people together to tell stories and share memories over a few beers. Inspiration struck in the form of an adult kickball competition, and Nick launched a charity event in 2020. He got to work connecting with businesses for donations and raffle prizes, and set up a website for event registration and custom shirts. The event is very inclusive, offering participation options for those who are active and want to play kickball and those who prefer to support from the sidelines.
Nick even connected with Simple Machine Brewing in Phoenix that made a commercial batch of their original beer, including grapefruit, lime, and kumquat (the same fruit trees in Dan’s mom’s backyard).
The annual “Kegball Fundraiser” has blossomed from a small event into a fundraiser with multi-state sponsors and participants from many cities. They received their 501c3 status this year and look to grow the event with a larger venue and official referees in the future.
The Limb Preservation Foundation is honored to receive a donation from this year’s event. We, too, are inspired by Dan’s resilience, positivity, and passion for helping others.
Dan lived a very gracious and giving life, and Nick hopes the event can instill a little bit of that “leave the world a better place” mentality in those who attend and support the event.