In its seventh year, Loyola’s War on the Shore is a one-day basketball showcase, featuring the Ramblers, Evanston and New Trier playing against a rotating cast of teams. After six years at Loyola, it has moved to Evanston and is scheduled for Saturday. Homewood-Flossmoor, Jacobs and St. Patrick are the three other schools (See Friday for the preview). The event benefits the Danny Did Foundation, a Chicago-based non-profit that raises awareness about epilepsy and Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). A Loyola graduate and former basketball player for the Ramblers, Tom Stanton is Danny Did’s executive director and was an assistant coach under Tom Livatino. His nephew, Danny Stanton who died of SUDEP at 4 years old, is the namesake of the foundation.
Maroon & Gold: I imagine you view the War on the Shore a success as it enters its seventh year. If that’s the case, how do you measure the growth?
Tom Stanton: It’s been a success on a few different levels. First, as a basketball fan, a former coach and former play, Tom has taken care to make this a quality basketball event. This year is a great example. I’m not sure we’ve had six better teams, and that’s really attractive from a basketball standpoint. The last game between Evanston and Homewood-Flossmoor will be televised live on WCIU. In that respect, the event has grown in stature. It’s now something people in the basketball community look forward to watching. Being at Evanston — where Tom’s brother, Chris Livatino, is the athletic director — this year gives us a chance to build new relationships and keep spreading the word and promoting the cause to another audience. This year, all six teams will be wearing our Danny Did T-shirts during warmups. We didn’t really know what to expect when we started. Tom has been great at galvanizing people and putting on a great tournament. But he’s also helped us partner with schools. I am impressed and grateful for the longevity of support. Running anything for seven years is not easy. For us to be the charity partner the entire time is something we appreciate. It speaks to the people involved at Loyola, especially Tom and [athletic director] Pat [Mahoney]. For us, it’s about getting our message across to as many people as we can.
M&G: Even though this is a Loyola-centric fundraiser, you’ve had loyal support from two of the school’s biggest sporting rivals, Evanston and New Trier. That says a lot about the relationships between the schools and how a good cause transcends competition.
TS: They’ve both been great. A good family friend of ours is Terry Coughlin, who is an assistant coach at New Trier. We both grew up in Rogers Park. He’s done a nice job articulating our cause to New Trier. With the event at Evanston this year, we are looking forward to building a relationship with Chris Livatino. We think it’s a good opportunity for us there. [Evanston head basketball coach] Mike Ellis has been supportive to us throughout the years, and we think it’s great that it’s being hosted at Evanston. The relationships we have with all of the teams goes back to Tom bringing them to the table. At Loyola, [athletic director] Pat Mahoney and [Executive Vice President] Dennis Stonequist have been extremely supportive in promoting our cause and working on our behalf.
M&G: How much money has been raised by War on the Shore? Where does it go?
TS: In six years, we’ve raised about $14,500. The primary program funds grants to enable families to get seizure monitoring devices. One big benchmark is we reached our 50th state this year, meaning we’ve helped at least one family in every state. We’ve also reached eight countries. Every year, we hear from more families who need our help, so it’s important for us to always be getting the word out. Events like War on the Shore help us reach people that might know nothing about us. But if we can get into their consciousness, and if someday they need help, we can be there.
M&G: What’s the next fundraiser for the Danny Did Foundation?
TS: We have a girls and boys basketball clinic Feb. 20 called Hustle & Hearts at Golf View Recreation Center in Niles. It’s for grades kindergarten through eighth, and we hope to have 300-plus kids show up. We have a group of coaches that all know each other who help us out. Once again, it’s a great way to get players and coaches involved for a great cause.
M&G: What’s next for the War on the Shore?
TS: We are excited about having a new host and building that relationship. We always want to build on the little things, like having each team wear our T-shirt during warmups. We always want to get the facts out about epilepsy.