Anthony Beauvillier remembers a lot about his grandfather.
Jean Cardin was a man with a big laugh, who was always drawn towards the water. When Beauvillier thinks back on their time together, splashing around with him and hearing that hearty laugh is what rushes back first.
But memory is a sensitive subject for families that have been affected by Alzheimer's disease, including the Beauvillier's who lost Jean in January. For Beauvillier, witnessing his grandfather's struggle to recall and recognize his own family is a painful memory and one the New York Islander doesn't want anyone else to have to experience.
With that as his motivation, Beauvillier has made helping find a cure for Alzheimer's his cause. The 21-year-old is doing his part, staging a charity Spikeball tournament on July 14 in Montreal.
"The main goal is to raise money for Alzheimer's and search for a cure to not have this disease in the world anymore," Beauvillier said. "My grandfather passed away and this year was really tough on my mother obviously and it's always tough on the family. I saw my mom have some down times when my grandfather wasn't doing well, not remembering the name of my brother and I and not really knowing who is daughter was. You never want to see any member of your family like that."
The entry fee is $300 for a team of two, with food and drinks included and prizes being raffled off to guests. All funds raised will benefit the Alzheimer's Society of Montreal, which will help fund research to find a cure.
Beauvillier chose Spikeball, the backyard game where the goal is to hit a ball off a net and past your opponents, for its accessibility. It's similar to the theory behind Anders Lee's Kancer Jam, opening up the tournament to more people by playing a backyard game and subtracting the gear and skating prerequisites for usual hockey and golf tourneys.
It's the first charity event Beauvillier has undertaken with the Islanders, but it's a continuation of the work he started last season to raise money and awareness for the Alzheimer's Association. Beauvillier put out a call to action for Islanders fans in December asking for their help to support the association. He led the charge, donating money after Isles home wins.
"Whether it's one dollar, or a hundred dollars it makes a difference at the end of the day," Beauvillier said.
He also invited kids and families affected by Alzheimer's to Islanders games and meeting with them afterwards for pictures and autographs, inspired by former Islander Travis Hamonic's D-Partner program.
"We all have different stories about it, but I'm just trying to talk to young kids about taking advantage of all the moments you have with your grandfather, or grandmother, or anyone, your mom and your dad," Beauvillier said. "It was important to me to talk to the kids."
Fans can still sign up for Beauvillier's tournament or research more on how to support the Alzheimer's Association and the Alzheimer's Society of Canada.