Breaking the World Record & the Stigma Surrounding Mental HealthJuly 29th, 2021
The Revelas Family is making a difference in the Western New York community. For the past 6 years, Nick, Savannah, and Ariana Revelas have hosted local basketball events in an effort to bring people together to have fun and support great causes.
In 2017, however, the yearly basketball event took on a deeper meaning when the Revelas Family lost a close friend, Devin Waring, to suicide. Completely shocked by the loss of their friend, the Revelas’ sought to make a greater impact with their basketball event by raising funds and awareness for mental health.
Throughout the years, the Revelas’ have raised over $75,000 for various organizations, and have graciously supported Horizon Health Services. This year, they seek to take their fundraiser to the next level by breaking the Guinness World Record for the longest basketball game. From August 6th-11th at Nardin Academy, 24 individuals from Western New York will attempt to play non-stop basketball for 5 days, 1 minute, and 7 seconds.
Amazed by their dedication and generosity, we interviewed the Revelas Family to learn more about the event, their mission, and how the community can get involved in supporting this cause.
Q&A with the Revelas Family
How did you all come up with the concept of the World’s Longest Basketball Game?
Nick: “The concept for this event started last December at our Relentless Documentary premiere at the Transit Drive-In. I looked out and saw dozens of cars, supporting our cause on a freezing Friday night, and I knew more had to be done. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew a basketball tournament wouldn’t be possible, so I came up with the idea of breaking a world record in an effort to make the biggest impact as well as the biggest splash possible.”
What do you hope this event signifies for our community?
Nick: “Although there is a lot of excitement and fun that surrounds a historic event like this, there is a deeper meaning I want our community to see. The basketball game will be great and we have some fun things planned, but throughout all of this, our primary goal has been to raise awareness surrounding mental health. It is an issue that affects so many in our community at such a young age, so it is my hope that people realize an event like this signifies that change can happen, and has never been more necessary than in today’s society.”
Savannah: “I hope this event signifies the need for mental health awareness among adolescents. This event will help create a new attitude in our community surrounding mental health, showing young adults they are not alone and there are people fighting for them every step of the way.”
What is your driving force behind this event? What do you hope to accomplish when it is all said and done?
Nick: “My goal every time I have one of these events is to have a fun, out of this world experience, while at the same time, making an impact for many. After playing 120 straight hours of non-stop basketball, being the owner of a world record will be great, but showing our greater WNY community that a dark issue like mental health struggles can and should be talked about is what I hope to get out of this.”
What has been your biggest learning experience through this particular project?
Nick: “Since we started planning this event back in January, I realized this was going to be different from any other project I had attempted. We had gone from a little driveway basketball game, to a tournament featuring hundreds of high school and college students. However, attempting to break a Guinness World Record was a whole new level of difficulty. I think something people can learn when taking on an endeavor like this is that you’re going to get knocked down sometimes, but it’s not about how you get knocked down, it’s about how you get back up.”
You have created a Family Foundation. Tell us a bit more about that foundation, how it came about, and what you hope to see it evolve into.
Savannah: “As we were all coming together to brainstorm about ‘what’s next,’ we came up with the idea to start the Revelas Family Foundation. Each member of our family has their own individual reasons as to why mental health is important to them, but we all come together and collectively have this passion and drive to help people who are suffering. The Foundation is an opportunity to take all of the work we have accomplished and legitimize what we have planned for the future. This is just the beginning for the Revelas Family Foundation.”
What do you want people to know about breaking the stigma? Why is that so important?
Nick: “As someone who lost a friend to suicide, it is so important for people to know they are not alone, and that there are resources out there. This event is not just about breaking a world record, but also breaking the stigma that comes with talking about mental health. It is a very difficult issue to try and be open about, but my hope is that an event like this shines a light on the fact that it’s okay not to be okay.”
Savannah: “Breaking the stigma that surrounds mental illness will change the way our future generations live. We all have unfortunately grown up in a time when talking about our struggles is seen as a sign of weakness, and we therefore refrain from telling people how we truly feel. Breaking the stigma will encourage people of all ages to start being accepting of themselves and those around them, and will work towards making our world a better place.”
Can you give us some information on how the community can get involved? How can we support?
Nick: “For anyone interested in volunteering, making a donation, or learning more about our story, visit our website. Our Opening Night will be taking place at Nardin Academy on August 6th at 5:00pm if you want to come out and support!”
Horizon is extremely grateful for the generosity of the Revelas Family, as well as their continued support in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health. It is through their hard work and dedication that we are able to increase awareness around the severity of mental health disorders and the resources available to those struggling in Western New York. Please consider supporting the Revelas Family Foundation by visiting www.fb21.org or emailing email@example.com.