After a week of celebrating another NBA title, the Miami Heat's DJ Irie helped superstar athletes like Dwyane Wade find a way to offer the little people some support.
"It's all for the kids," said Wade during the bowling finale of the eighth-annual Irie Weekend's series of events benefiting the Irie Foundation. "Feels good after celebrating the championship to find a way to give back to the community that made it all possible."
Kids from all over South Florida joined in the festivities Sunday at Lucky Strike Lanes in South Beach on behalf of the South Florida After School All Stars and Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital. Out in support of the event were Gabrielle Union, Udonis Haslem, and Alonzo Mourning, a true thrill for the kids.
"To see their heroes really gives the kids hope," said parent Jose Abreu of Fort Lauderdale, whose son is a member of the South Florida After School All Stars. "Some of the kids may be facing a life-threatening disease. Knowing their heroes are behind them gives the will to fight."
The bowling event sponsored by Verizon Wireless, a first for Irie Weekend, was the finale for a celebration packed with sponsorships. The goal, according to the DJ's foundation, was to "improve the lives of South Florida youth through educational and extracurricular opportunities that may not be otherwise available to them, with an emphasis on the arts."
Mayor Carlos Gimenez came out for the golf event Friday morning, which also featured such stars as Mourning, Chris Kirkpatrick, Travis McCoy, Jonathan Vilma, and Eddie Jones. Though final figures were not yet made available, early signs say the 2012 event was Irie's best.
"Spending time with the kids [at the inaugural bowling event] was the highlight for me," Irie told County Grind. "On top of that, I believe we raised more money than we ever have before."