University of Oregon graduate Osiel Mendoza, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis last year at age 21, is coming back to Eugene Memorial Day weekend to host a corntoss tournament in Alton Baker Park. All of the proceeds from the event will go directly toward ALS research.
The event aims to raise $20,000 through entry fees, raffle items and other donations. It is sponsored by the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALSTDI) and Motiv8, Marcus Mariota’s non-profit foundation. Mendoza hopes to see anywhere from 50-100 teams of two participate, and there will be prizes such as Nike shoes for the winners.
Mendoza, who the Emerald profiled last year, has had to adjust to life with the rare neurological disease that currently has no cure. Since graduating with a sports business degree from UO last spring, he’s lost the ability to walk, dress himself and complete other routine tasks that most take for granted. But that hasn’t stopped him from staying positive and aggressively fundraising for ALSTDI, where he now works.
Last year, Osiel and his wife Bella launched the #YolkUp4ALS campaign, where people took videos of themselves drinking raw eggs before nominating friends to do the same. The campaign aimed to raise money and awareness for ALS. Osiel’s goal was to raise $30,000 for research throughout the two-month campaign. He ended up raising $46,000.
“Seeing the response to the YolkUp challenge was pretty incredible,” Osiel said. “It made a really negative and dark situation into something positive that people rallied behind. It was a humbling and inspiring experience for me.”
Now, Osiel is living back in the Bay Area close to family and helping ALSTDI fundraise and put on events like the upcoming tournament in Eugene. He’s encouraging anyone in the UO community to come out on May 26.
“There’s going to be a lot of beer, a lot of good music and I think it’s going to be a really fun day,” he said.
- Saturday, May 26, begins 12 p.m.
- Alton Baker Park (100 Day Island Rd.)
- Registration: $50 per team of 2. Includes a t-shirt and ticket for food or beer for each player.
- Register here.