Updated with video, link to photos

'Overwhelming' community support helps keep 'Fitzy Strong'

Brian Fitzpatrick, member of two state title teams, battles liver cancer
By Ken Waltz | Nov 27, 2017
Photo by: Ken Waltz Children, including from left, Hannah Archer, Colin Fitzpatrick, Everett Dugal, Brodie Archer, Carly Fitzpatrick and Brynn Fitzpatrick, sit in the bleachers with their lollipops and good young person talk during the Windjammer alumni basketball games on Nov. 25 at Camden Hills Regional High School. The games were to raise money for Brian Fitzpatrick, a former Windjammer player, who continues to battle liver cancer.

Rockport — As former Windjammers tussled on the basketball court in an attempt to rekindle their glory days, the guest of honor sat in the front row of the bleachers in the corner of the gymnasium surrounded by family and, between greeting well-wishers, watched the action, smiled, clapped and simply soaked in the positive atmosphere as friends, classmates and teammates literally and figuratively had a ball just for him.

As he basked in the outpouring of respect and love from others for his unexpected and serious health struggles, Brian Fitzpatrick so wanted to run on the court and grab the ball. To make a pass. To take a shot. To simply be part of the fun and athletic success he knew on that same court so many years ago.

However, still recovering from surgery, he was too weak to share in what was a fun-filled and emotional night of Windjammer alumni basketball on Saturday night, Nov. 25 at Camden Hills Regional High School.

Click for photos from this event.

Watch video below from the men's game.

Click to read separate story on Brian Fitzpatrick.

What transpired in the gymnasium was not lost on the 35-year-old Rockport resident who, while recovering from recent liver cancer surgery, was "overwhelmed" and "humbled" by the love, support and caring shown by the hundreds who attended the event to watch or participate.

Fitzpatrick is a 2001 CHRHS gradulate, among the first from that school. He is a former standout student-athlete at the school. He is a former Windjammer basketball player. One who was a member of two state Class B championship teams, one of which he played a pivotal role for as a senior.

And, 16 years later, so many former Windjammers, in the stands and on the court, alumni of Camden-Rockport and Camden Hills, gathered to raise money to help Fitzpatrick deal with his medical costs.

Fitzpatrick, the son of longtime middle school coach and Camden restaurant owner Terry "Fitzy," was a member of the 1999 and 2001 Windjammer state Class B championship teams.

Fitzpatrick said he is so thankful for the support he has received since he learned of his illness in July. He said it has been a challenging, five-month ordeal, one with many emotional and physical ups and downs, but early this month he received positive news from his medical care givers.

He said November has "been a good month." And Saturday was a good night.

Perhaps the most poignant and touching moment of the night game at the end of the men's game when the players gathered and walked to where Fitzpatrick sat and stood in front of him and clapped.

The spectators all stood and the young man received a standing ovation for his courage, for his fight, for being a lifelong friend and respected member of the Windjammer family — the Midcoast Maine family.

"Brian is such a warrior," said Jeff Hart, who, with Sue Wootton and others, helped spearhead the event. "He is strong-minded. He’s a fighter … and he’s going to get through all this. We’re just here to help he and his family a little while he’s 'on the disabled list.' No one in this community is going to just sit back and watch this happen without reaching out to help. And once again, this event shows all that."

"Brian is a soft-spoken young man," said Sue Wootton. "He was always one of those kids that would talk to adults when he was a teenager and was easy to engage in conversation. Both Fitzpatrick boys are friendly and outgoing with other people. I think they get that from their parents. Of course, 'Fitzy' had quite an influence on a lot of young people in his coaching days. This has been a long, tough battle, but Brian has such a good and positive attitude."

Fitzpatrick said he will continue to battle through his health issues and plans to participate in future Windjammer alumni games.

On Friday, there were women's and men's games and, while the court battles were fun and sometimes entertaining, the outcomes paled in comparison to the show of support directed at Fitzpatrick, the father of three young children, and one of their own being dealt a tough handful of cards.

Between games there was an oldies' free-throw shooting contest. Those who participated included Charlie Wootton, Jeff Hart, Paul MacDonald, Terry Fitzpatrick, Steve Alex, Kim Kuhn, Dan Gabriele, Ted Graffam, Tom Stammen, Greg Dugal and Jay Carlsen (the winner).

There was a concession stand in the Wave Café. There was a raffle table with items donated from the community. A 50/50 raffle also took place.

If one is interested in making a donation, one can email Melissa Hart at melissahart158@gmail.com or Anna Dugal at adugal@pbmc.org. Also, there are still t-shirts available, and they can be purchased by emailing Melissa Hart at the previously listed address.

In the games, the home white squads earned victories, with the final scores being 56-44 for the women and 68-42 for the men.

The list below also includes the players listed graduation years.

The men's white team included Nick Learnard (1999), Abe Dugal (2001), Jeff Hall (1982), Andrew Rogers (2005), Troy Gabriele (2002), Peter Stein (2005), Cameron Gartley (2010), Max Niles (2011), John Hall (2014), Connor Hart (2013) and Connor Graffam (2014).

The men's green team included Nate Neville (1999), Daniel Hart (2009), Dale Landrith (1995), Paul Hopkins (2002), Sam Higgins (2003), Greg Stammen (2003), Ben Laukka (1994), Dan Ford (2006), Derek O'Brien (2002), Adam Carlsen (2011), Peter Moro (2002) and Zack Wincklehofer (2010).

The women's green team included Gab Duke (2010), Sarah Steele (2012), Morgan Hart (2004), Mary Kate Pons (2021) and Hannah Fiske (2021). Fiske and Pons are high school freshmen who played when the women were short on players.

The women's white team included Annie Young (2015), Kim Kuhn (1985), Marianne Croce (2006), Kristina Alex (2013) and Jordan Knowlton (2013).

There were many highlights and laughs from the games, including a dunk by Landrith in the men's game.

Paul MacDonald and Juan Alcala officiated the women's game and MacDonald the men's contest.

Sue Wootton said, "The event went off great," and added that, while overall totals are not finalized, she believes the event raised nearly $7,000.

"The community gave so much for the raffle and people bought t-shirts," she said. "We also had quarter sponsors at $250 a piece. Many people stepped forward to volunteer their time for this. There were many varsity players there too to watch the games."

Sue Wootton said one of Jeff Hart's former players sat with him and said. "Coach, you did this. This is your legacy. All these great players.”

"It was like old-home week for basketball. We are so lucky to have so many people still interested in basketball and the next generation is here," Sue Wootton said.

Derek O”Brien, who was paralyzed in an accident many years ago, and Brian Fitzpatrick, who were teammates, had a chance catch up, Sue Wootton said.

"We did a game for Derek back in 2005 or 2006 and had a wonderful turnout for that. Derek came [this year] and donated a photo he had taken. He does a lot with photography."

'Fitzy Strong' alumni basketball games
'Fitzy Strong' alumni basketball games on Nov. 25 at Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport. (Video by: Ken Waltz and Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Brian Fitzpatrick, facing middle, receives a standing ovation at the end of the event. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Gab Duke, left, and Paul MacDonald. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Hannah Fiske. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Morgan Hart. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Marianne Croce, left, and Gab Duke. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Jordan Knowlton. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Kim Kuhn, left, and Hannah Fiske. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Hannah Fiske, left, and Kim Kuhn. Marianne Croce is in front. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Paul MacDonald. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mary Kate Pons. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Morgan Hart, back, and Kristina Alex, right. Also pictured is Sarah Steele. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Morgan Hart, back left, and Kristina Alex. right. At left is Sarah Steele. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Marianne Croce, left, and Mary Kate Pons. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Gab Duke. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Annie Young. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Sarah Steele. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Kim Kuhn, front, and Annie Young, back, along with Hannah Fiske, in green. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Hannah Fiske. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Jeff Hart and his grandson, Parker Tolin. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Sarah Steele. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Kristina Alex. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Brodie Archer. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
A child has fun on the court. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Gab Duke, left, and Morgan Hart, with her son, Parker Tolin. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Hannah Archer. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Sloane Russo. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Bill Curtis. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mary Kate Pons, left, and Hannah Fiske. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Colin Fitzpatrick. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Hannah Fiske. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Marianne Croce. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Paul MacDonald, left, and Sue Wootton. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Marianne Croce, left, and Gab Duke. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Annie Young. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Annie Young. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Jordan Knowlton, left, and Kim Kuhn. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Jordan Knowlton. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Kristina Alex. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Kristina Alex. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Gab Duke. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Marianne Croce, facing. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Jordan Knowlton. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Annie Young. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Kristina Alex. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Kim Kuhn. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Nick Learnard. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Sue Wootton. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Jay Carlsen, left, Dan Gabriele. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
From left, Paul MacDonald, Brian Fitzpatrick and Terry "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Zack Wincklehofer. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Ben Laukka. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Troy Gabriele and Max Niles, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Dale Landrith, left, and Connor Graffam. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Ben Laukka, left, and Peter Stein, right, among others. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Andrew Rogers. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Dale Landrith. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Troy Gabriele, right, and Adam Carlsen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Connor Graffam. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Greg Stammen, left, and Abe Dugal. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Greg Stammen, left, and Abe Dugal. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Morgan Hart's son, Parker Tolin, runs across the court to see her. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Troy Gabriele, front, and Andrew Rogers, back, along with Adam Carlsen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Dale Landrith, left, and Abe Dugal, right. The official is Paul MacDonald. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Andrew Rogers, left, and Dale Landrith. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Greg Stammen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Adam Carlsen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Paul Hopkins. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Adam Carlsen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Adam Carlsen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Nate Neville. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Steve Alex. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
From left, Caitlin Fitzpatrick, Brian Fitzpatrick, Jeff Hart and Terry "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Peter Stein, left, and Peter Moro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Peter Stein, left, and Peter Moro. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Zack Wincklehofer. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Zack Wincklehofer, front, and Nick Learnard. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Max Niles. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Jeff Hall, left, and Ben Laukka. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
From left, Jeff Hall, Daniel Hart, Nick Learnard and Zack Wincklehofer. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Jeff Hall, front, and Daniel Hart. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Dan Ford. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Peter Moro, left, and Max Niles. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Derek O'Brien. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Cam Gartley, left, and Greg Stammen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Caitlin Fitzpatrick, right, and Carly Fitzpatrick. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
From left, Carly, Caitlin and Brian Fitzpatrick. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Connor Graffam, left, and Greg Stammen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Everett Dugal. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Dan Ford, front. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Connor Hart. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Caitlin and Brian Fitzpatrick. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Dale Landrith, left, and Cam Gartley. Referee Paul MacDonald is in back. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Connor Hart. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Cam Gartley, facing. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Andrew Rogers. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Cam Gartley, front, and Greg Stammen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Abe Dugal. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Peter Stein, facing. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Dale Landright, back, along with Nick Learnard, left, and Connor Graffam. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Cam Gartley. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Brian Fitzpatrick, left, and Greg Stammen. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Brian Fitzpatrick, left, is surrounded after the men's game. In back is Terry "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick, Brian's dad. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Brian Fitzpatrick, left, is surrounded after the men's game. In back is Terry "Fitzy" Fitzpatrick, Brian's dad. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Nov 28, 2017 13:19

Memories being made and memories from the past. To read and view pictures of Paul Macdonald now referee and my memories of a younger ball player of the 70's at CHS. And seeing Sue Aylward Wooton, "Wonderful"!  Great pictures and great memories! Kudos to Ken Waltz

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever



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