In January 2013, Winthrop marketed shirts with Kelsey’s words from Ohio State, “It’s Time To Step Up” and the phrase “Remember Newtown” on them. Proceeds went to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Support Fund that helped all victims. The school said it did not have records of how many were sold or how much was donated.
Kelsey had raised the idea attending a Winthrop game last offseason. The Kowalskis had planned to make the trip Valentine’s Day weekend, but weather forced them to postpone it until now. Kelsey and the Kowalskis will use part of this postgame to raise awareness for the CMAK (Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski) Sandy Hook Memorial Fund.
The foundation raises funds through initiatives like Race4Chase because he was avid athlete who had taken part in youth triathlons.
The Kowalskis - and daughters 10th-grader Erin and seventh-grader Brittany - are scheduled to arrive Friday and will spend some of Saturday prior to the game in the Charlotte area, about 20 miles north of campus. Kelsey said officials at racing’s Hendrick Motorsports operations sent gifts and arranged a tour of the NASCAR Hall of Fame because Chase was also a big race fan.
Winthrop players will wear the names of the young Sandy Hook victims on their jerseys Saturday. Forward Joab Jerome, one of two seniors playing their last home game, will wear Chase’s name. Winthrop coaches will wear patches with the initials of one of the six adults killed.
After the game Kelsey and the Kowalskis will spend time together over dinner.
“We hope to strengthen our friendship,” she said, “and continue working together on our journey to help children, families and communities.”