CRFD Fire Bowl helps Chelsey’s Dream Foundation raise funds to adopt children

Published: Aug. 6, 2022 at 10:00 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Members of the Cedar Rapids Fire Department ditched their uniforms and hit the sand to play in their 12th Fire Bowl - which is a beach volleyball tournament.

“It’s just like your wedding day. All the planning is a little stressful, but once the day gets here, it goes by fast and everyone has fun,” said Cortez Davis.

Each year, the Fire Bowl directors choose a nonprofit to help raise funds. This year’s beneficiary is the Chelsey’s Dream Foundation.

“They hold an annual softball tournament every year,” explained Kenna Fry. “My niece has played in it the last two years. I learned about them last year and kind of threw their name out there and that’s how we chose them.”

The foundation provides funding for families wanting to adopt. Chelsey’s parents, Chuck and Carol Bildstein, attended the event. They shared that their daughter battled uterine and ovarian cancer, but had help from the community at the time to offset costs for her treatment.

“When she found out she was terminal in July of 2014, her mother asked her, ‘what should we do with this money?’ There’s going to be a lot of money left over,” said Chuck. “Her first initial reaction was to give it to a family. Help a family with the costs of adopting a child because in a way, she said that’s going to be a baby of mine too. I’m going to be a mom.”

Chelsey died at the age of 23, but through her foundation, which started in 2014, her family has been able to help 72 families adopt 92 children.

“It’s very rewarding,” said Bildstein. “We see the connections that Chelsey started because these of families. A lot of them are friends now and they have a support network,” he added.

Since 2010 the Fire Bowl has helped raised over $220,000 to support nonprofits across Eastern Iowa.

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