Please help me to Bingham Cup 14' Sydney

Please help me get to the Bingham Cup 2014 in Sydney (http://www.binghamcup.com)

I started playing rugby six years ago in fall 2007 with the Phoenix Storm RFC when a friend of mine pitched the idea to me to get involved. I had no idea at the time it would become the love affair that it has. From the first practice I was hooked and I have never looked back.

Growing up I often played sports both with the neighborhood kids and in school. However, relentless harassment forced me out of athletics in high school. When I came out I didn't know any gay men who were involved in sport. Truth be told it was over a decade before I realized any were. I longed to play sports again and felt sadden after I came out that it seemed there was not a place for a gay men in sports. 

Rugby changed all of that for me. Not only did it give me a place in sports again that was safe but also amongst my peers both gay and straight who respected me. Rugby is physically brutal and a demanding sport and it is hard not to respect any individual who partakes in it. 

The Bingham Cup a.k.a. the Gay Rugby World Cup (though not all of its participants are gay) was first held in 2002 in San Francisco and named after Mark Bingham who was one of the men who stormed the cockpit on flight 93 during 9/11 who is a hero to many. It is the biggest amateur sporting event in the world. Gay inclusive rugby started in 1995 in London with the Kings Cross Steelers but exploded after the first Bingham Cup. Currently there are about 65 teams world wide. Mark's mother Alice has attended all of the Bingham Cups since which are held ever two years in different places around the world. I have had the luxury of meeting her twice. I personally have attended two out of the three Bingham Cups there have been since I started playing rugby. Partaking both in Dublin 08' and Minneapolis 10' and unfortunately missing out on Manchester 12'. This is the first time the Bingham Cup is headed to the southern hemisphere.

Rugby has changed my life in many ways. From the time I started until now I have been forced to grow as a person. I was lucky enough to co-found a team that I currently play for right here in Colorado called the Colorado Rush RFC. The team was born 10/10/10. It is hard to explain in such a short space how this impacted my life. My commitment, love and passion for the game has been more grounded then anything I have experienced in this life. The brotherhood I have experienced is untouched by any other sport.  

Since I first started playing rugby the first international team I gravitated towards was the Wallabies which is Australia's national team. I would be humbled and truly honored if you could help me achieve this dream of partaking in the tournament and going to Australia. I have dedicated myself like the athlete that I am to the gym twice a day and am eating as healthy as possible to be in the most extraordinary shape of my life when I take the pitch in August with my team. I have persevered through injuries and have overcome adversities to get here. There isn't much that would mean more to me. All the money raised will cover my expenses to and from as well as my stay while there, my registration and new gear for playing. 

Thank you for your time and your continued support and consideration.

Much Love,  

Jeremy Lloyd Ballard
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Organizer

Jeremy Lloyd Ballard 
Organizer
Denver, CO
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