'He inspired us': Fundraiser in Palatine will honor manager of Stevenson state champs
As former Stevenson High School basketball star Jalen Brunson climbed the ladder of success to the NBA, he had a special teammate guiding him on his journey.
Nathan Halterman and Brunson never played together on the court for the Lincolnshire school, but the current New York Knick says that, as team manager, Halterman played an important role in Stevenson's run to the 2015 state championship.
"He pushed us, he inspired us and he was a great reason why we were able to win a state title," Brunson said in a recent video discussing Halterman, who in high school battled through Duchenne muscular dystrophy. "I think about him every day and I dedicate pretty much every game to him that I play."
Now, nearly three years after his friend died at age 22, Brunson is urging people to participate in a workout fundraiser being held in Halterman's honor Saturday in Palatine.
The 10.40.10 Train American Hero Mission will take place at Durty Nellie's, 180 N. Smith St., in downtown Palatine. Hosted by the suburban gym and fitness company 10.40.10 Fitness, the event will benefit Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, which supports research to end the degenerative disease and advocates on behalf of patients and their families.
The workout is open to 10.40.10 Fitness members and nonmembers, and it will feature teams of three working to complete as many rounds as possible during a 33-minute WAR (Work and Repeat) workout. Doors open at 8 a.m., and there will be three different heats. Visit trainamericanchallenge.com/nathan-halterman for more information.
Nathan's mother, Vernon Hills resident Lesly Ravenscraft, said she is honored the organization is recognizing her son, who lived 14 years with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Diagnosed with the degenerative disorder at an early age, Halterman continued to play sports until the disease required him to use a wheelchair. That's when he turned to managing the basketball team at Stevenson.
While being in a wheelchair full time can be a lonely experience and make it difficult to socialize with peers, working as team manager gave Halterman the opportunity to be with his classmates and stay involved with something he loved, his mother said.
"I gave him the ability to obviously enjoy sports, but also have connections with kids," Ravenscraft said.
It also gained him a good friend in Brunson.
"Nathan didn't have it easy," Brunson said in a video. "But the most impressive thing about Nathan is that he was more mentally strong than all of us combined. He fought through a lot, that none of us really knew what he was going through."
Despite his challenges, Nathan always had a smile on his face, which made his teammates smile, he added.
Alex Witt, the owner of 10.40.10 Fitness and a Navy veteran, said the gym conducts a "hero mission" every three months, highlighting a person in the community who has inspired others.
"(Nathan) made people's lives better around him, and that's what being a patriot and being an American is all about," said Witt, a Palatine resident whose gym has locations in Deer Park and Glenview.
Nicole Herring, vice president of development and community engagement for Parent Project MD, said money raised from community fundraisers is critical to helping the group's mission to end Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
"PPMD funds research, advocacy, care and education initiatives that are getting us closer to a day where there are treatment options for everyone living with Duchenne," she said.
Ravenscraft said Parent Project MD helped her family get in touch with top doctors for her son.
"They were just very supportive in everything and helping us maneuver our way through everything," she said. "(Nathan) was stronger than you would expect from somebody that's in that situation. He was way stronger than me. He made you a better person just being around him."