LAKE FOREST — While 14-year-old Nick Curley isn't the biggest player on the ice, his ideas may be.
When he was just seven, Nick came up with the idea to skate 100 miles over several days to honor the memory of his friend Danny, who died suddenly at the age of four nearly 10 years ago.
"He’s an amazing kid, I mean he’s mature beyond his years, he’s a giving kid," said Danny's uncle Tom Stanton.
The money raised by Nick's big ideas goes to the "Danny Did Foundation," which raises awareness of epilepsy and the rare condition that led to Danny's death. In 2012, he raised almost $40,000 by himself.
"Danny died from something called Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, or SUDEP; it’s a risk with epilepsy that people are unaware of," Danny's uncle Tom Stanton explains. "We’re trying to raise awareness that this is one possible outcome, and to help inform and educate families to know about SUDEP and minimize the risk."
This year, Nick wanted to open his skate up to hockey players from all around the Chicago area. On Sunday, hundreds laced up to skate five miles at a time. Each of the 20 groups signed on to skate 100 miles in one day.
"It just shows how hockey players, we all have each other’s backs," Danny's friend Charlie Duffy said. "We come and support each other."
Mary Duffy knows Danny’s family well, and works with the foundation to educate the public, while also providing seizure detection alarms to families of children diagnosed with epilepsy.
"If the alarm goes off, mom and dad can get into that room and make sure the child is okay. So we can purchase quite a few of those for families in need after this event," Mary Duffy said. "It was an amazing thing, and brought a lot of awareness to our cause."
It's a humbling way to spend a Sunday: remembering a little boy whose legacy continues in the minds of his friends, and in their good works.