“Friends of Beast” is a registered NJ 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, benefiting a wide variety of athletic programs for both able-bodied and differently-abled children in the Philadelphia metropolitan and South Jersey areas. It is our belief that we are the largest grassroots charitable organization in our area focused specifically on youth sports programs from across the area.
Beneficiaries of our fundraising efforts include but are not limited to the DVYAA Lady Senators Softball program, The 6th Man Project, E.O.M.A.A. Baseball, Softball, and Football programs, Torresdale Boys and Girls Club, Fishtown AC Soccer, 2nd St. Warriors CYO Football, Keith’s Fight For Sight Indoor Soccer Tournament, Philadelphia Police Athletic League, Gilbert Spruance School Volleyball, Neumann Goretti Saints Football camp, North Wildwood Rec, Vare Gymnastics, St. Joseph’s Prep Football, Wildwood Catholic HS Girls Soccer, DVYAA Senators Baseball, Saints Lacrosse, Middle Township Rec, Burke Playground Hockey League, Philadelphia Phillies ALS Phestival, Katie Kirlin Wheelchair Basketball League, North Wildwood Whalers Hockey, Maple Shade SC’s TOPS Soccer Program (for young athletes with mental and physical disabilities), and Avery’s Awesome Amigo’s (providing recreational opportunities for children with Autism).
Origins: The “Friends of Beast” organization was created in memory of Christopher Gedraitis, known from childhood as “Beast”, who passed away unexpectedly from an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of 30 in March 2006. Chris was the kind of guy that always left an impression on you in one way or another, either with his charming smile, a corny joke, devilish prank, or his selfless acts of generosity and kindness. Beast was fiercely loyal to his friends, family, co-workers, and his neighborhood. Even if he had just met someone, he treated them just as he treated his lifelong friends.
After his passing, a group of his friends got together to honor his memory and the first annual “Beast Day” event was held at Finnigan’s Wake in Philadelphia. Out of the large turnout of that day, the organization was born. The idea was that although Beast is no longer here to help us, his friends, and friends of friends, can get together and celebrate his life, and raise money for a cause that was close to him, youth sports.
Though “Beast Day” and our other events, relationships are built and strengthened; they bring people together for a good time, and we are reminded to stop and take time to sincerely appreciate our friendships.