BBQ fundraiser to be held for injured rugby player Ronan Nelson


By Karen Billing

The Team Ronan Recovery Fund is holding a fundraising party on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m. Team Ronan supports Ronan Nelson, a Cathedral Catholic student-athlete who broke his neck and incurred spinal cord injuries playing rugby earlier this year.

The event will feature a catered BBQ lunch, entertainment, raffle and live auction at the private home of Rick and Mary Reeder in Encinitas. Attendees are welcomed to dress to represent their favorite rugby club or nation.

“He’s a really great kid,” said Bill Leversee, chair of the Team Ronan event and also Ronan’s rugby coach. “Insurance only goes so far and his family is in need of support so he is able to see a full recovery in his rehab. The community is really rallying together and stepping up to support this cause.”

Ronan was injured during a game last year with the San Diego Mustangs at Carmel Valley Middle School.

The road to recovery has had its challenges, but Ronan is staying strong and working hard at his rehab, Leversee said.

“He is beginning to get some movement back in his upper body and some feeling in his legs,” Leversee said. “He is making progress. He is back in school at Cathedral, using a motorized wheelchair.”

An excellent student, Ronan has a 4.5 GPA at Cathedral.

In June, Team Ronan held its first fundraiser—the World’s Biggest Scrum. A total of 738 people attended and Ronan ceremoniously threw out the ball.

Leversee said the foundation’s second fundraiser, the Team Ronan BBQ, will be an annual event. It promises to be “quite the party,” he said.

Live auction items include a family membership to Pacific Sports Resort (formerly known as Pacific Athletic Club in Carmel Valley) and a package to see the International Rugby Sevens in Las Vegas, to name just a few.

The auction will also feature Fund-A-Need items, where people can sponsor rehab time for Ronan at his physical therapy center Project Walk in Carlsbad.

“The raffle is really juicy,” said Leversee, noting they have had great response and support from local businesses.

Prizes include packages from local eateries such as Sbicca, Burlap, Pacifica Del Mar, Crush, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, as well as fitness offerings from the Sporting Club in La Jolla, Sculpt Fusion, Yoga Tropics and Yoga 6.

The party will also be a unique opportunity to meet and hang out with some of the best rugby players the country has ever produced, as the USA National Rugby team will be in attendance.

Rugby was recently added to the summer Olympics schedule and will be a part of the 2016 competition, so attendees will be mixing with future Olympians.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Leversee said. “I highly encourage everyone to reach into their pocket and give.”

To register for the event visit