The St Pete Beach Wiffle Ball Tournament Raised $271,626 For Primary Immunodeficiency Its First Year—Now James Ramos And Derek Alvarez Are Gearing Up For The Second Annual Event

As the father of two children struggling with primary immunodeficiency, Tampa resident James Ramos knows first-hand the gravity of this genetic defect.
Primary immunodeficiency (PI) causes frequent or unusually stubborn infections in children and adults. It affects as any as 1 million Americans, and 10 million people worldwide, but PI goes beyond common illnesses. Thanks to breakthroughs in genetic research, experts now know of more than 100 identifiable forms of PI that range in severity and affect children and adults alike.
Ramos’ youngest son Aidan, 5, has been in and out of All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg since he was 10 months old. He visits the hospital every four weeks for necessary IV blood transfusions that provide antibodies so his body can fight day-to-day infections.

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Given the severity of PI and the community’s lack of awareness regarding its serious effects, Ramos and friend Derek Alvarez, of Genders-Alvarez-Diecidue PA Attorneys At Law, co-chaired a fun twist on fundraising last year to raise money and awareness for research. The two hosted a beach wiffle ball tournament that raised a gross amount of $271,626, greatly impacting the children served by All Children’s Hospital and the University of South Florida’s Department of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology Division.
James said that as a result of this event, All Children’s Hospital was named a Jeffrey Modell Diagnostic & Research Center and received a $150,000 grant benefiting both the hospital and USF. In addition, a comfort/fun area for children is underway at the brand new Immune Parameters Laboratory and Infusion Center at All Children’s, and the Glazer Children’s Museum will host a community education and awareness campaign sponsorship. The event also spurred the creation of a yearly Modell Kid’s Day, during which immunology patients of the University and All Children’s Hospital can spend a day outside the hospital and just enjoy being kids.

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“Understanding our immune system and how it works can be compared to an iceberg,” Ramos says. “We are just at the tip of understanding, but so much lies beneath the surface that we have yet to discover. It is through immunology research and doctors like John Sleasman that we will have solutions to many known diseases in our future.” Dr. John Sleasman is the Robert A. Good Professor and Chief for the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology at the University of South Florida, Dept of Pediatrics.

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Help The Cause
Given the success of last year’s tournament, Ramos and Alvarez have established the details for the 2nd Annual Wiffle Ball Tournament, scheduled to take place July 3-4 at the Don CeSar Beach Resort. For event information, visit, contact Connie Ramos at or call (813) 944-2558.