In 1995, Frank DeBlasi was an impact player for the state champion basketball team at Christian Brothers Academy, one of his finest memories. About 11 years after that high, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, an ultimate low.
After DeBlasi beat his cancer, he looked to turn a negative into a positive. In 2007, he founded the first iteration of his charitable organization, now known as “Ballsfest.”
Ballsfest identifies children battling all kinds of cancer and looks to bring a positive energy into their lives through a variety of programs. The non-profit has established events in Alabama, Arizona, New York, Nevada, and now, New Jersey.
On September 22nd, DeBlasi and Ballsfest will hold their first signature event in New Jersey at Bell Works in Holmdel, DeBlasi’s hometown. They will recognize five children, known affectionately as “Ballers,” during the event. The CBA community can receive a discount to the Holmdel Ballsfest by visiting this link.
DeBlasi was gracious enough to answer a few questions as he prepared to make his New Jersey homecoming…
Q: Speak about your battle with cancer. How old were you when you were diagnosed? What helped you persevere through that time?
A: I was 29 years old when diagnosed with testicular cancer. What helped me persevere was the strength of my support system, which included my family, my medical team, and my faith.
Q: After your battle with cancer, what was the deciding factor in creating your non-profit? Were you inspired by anything or anyone that helped you through your battle?
A: I knew after my surgery, my treatments, and the emotional battle with cancer, that I wanted to turn a negative episode in my life into a positive, and the focus on lifting the spirits of children and young adults facing similar battles was my inspiration.
Q: Give us an overview of Ballsfest. How did you put your vision for the organization in motion?
A: BALLSFEST is a rapidly growing non-profit organization that lifts the spirits of children, young adults, and their families who are battling all forms of cancers. We provide all sorts of experiences and gifts to these brave souls fighting this unwanted disease; we affectionately refer to these young warriors as “Ballers.” My vision included partnering up with multiple children’s hospitals throughout the country, and identifying as many positive experiences as possible for the Ballers. We currently are making deep impacts in five states (AZ, NV, AL, NY, and now, NJ).
Q: You are expanding Ballsfest to New Jersey for the first time. How important was it for you to get New Jersey roots in your organization?
A: It has been incredibly emotional and fulfilling to bring Ballsfest to New Jersey, especially to where I spent so much of my life. It’s great to partner up with Hackensack Meridian Health’s K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital at St. Peter’s University.
Q: As a CBA graduate, what about the Academy helped shape you into the man you are today?
A: My time at the Academy undoubtedly shaped who I am today. The commitment to excellence, discipline, hard work, and true appreciation for life and giving to others were all core values that the Academy instilled in me from day one as a freshman right through graduation day.
DeBlasi currently resides in Scottsdale, Arizona and is a wealth manager with U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management. He attended Wagner College, where he played Division I basketball.
BALLSFEST is a registered non-profit organization that lifts the spirits of children, young adults, and their families affected by cancer. Organizers and supporters of Ballsfest provide unforgettable experiences for those facing obstacles with the disease. The term, “Ballsfest”, was created by Frank DeBlasi, a testicular cancer survivor and keen supporter of children living with cancer. The term is a play on words, and one that reflects Frank’s positive spirit during his own battle. Learn more here.