LAKE STEVENS — Hollywood hero Chris Pratt is raising money for Special Olympics Washington by raffling a trip for two to the premiere of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”
He kicked off the fundraiser by playing softball with the Special Olympics team from his hometown. He surprised the Lake Stevens Eagles earlier this month in the San Juan Islands at what they’d been told would be a practice game against another team.
A video on the fundraising site crowdrise.com shows the actor’s visit with the athletes.
There were high-fives and cheers. Pratt said he played catcher in high school, but “was never good.” Some of the players chatted with him about his films. They recognized him as Star-Lord from the “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Avengers” franchises, the most recent installment of which has been a box-office juggernaut since its release two weeks ago.
“I’m a big fan of yours,” one of the players told Pratt.
“I’m a fan of yours, too,” Pratt said.
The Eagles are set to compete in the Special Olympics USA Games this July in Seattle. The event is expected to draw athletes, volunteers and spectators from around the country.
“I’m so proud of you guys for representing Lake Stevens at nationals,” Pratt told the team.
Special Olympics Washington provides access to sports year-round for 17,500 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It’s a chance for them to develop skills, gain confidence, stay active and build relationships.
Money raised will go toward equipment, travel expenses and costs of adding new sports and serving more people, said Mary Do, a vice president for Special Olympics Washington.
“One of the things Chris is passionate about is making sure local teams are taken care of,” Do said. “The fundraising will help with the sustainability of our program. It will really help with expanding our sports and the quality of our sports.”
Pratt is friends with Rian Cool, a local Special Olympics coach, Do said. The actor also was friends with Special Olympics athlete and fellow Lake Stevens High graduate Rory Parrish, who died in 2010, she said.
For the fundraiser, donors receive one entry into the contest for every $10. The prize is a trip to the premiere of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” an invitation to the after-party, plane tickets and a hotel room, and the chance to “meet and take selfies with Chris,” according to the fundraiser page.
Folks can donate online at crowdrise.com/m/jurassicworldpremiere.
The sweepstakes continues until midnight June 1. It started May 1. After the link was made available online, so many people clicked that it stopped working, Pratt told fans on social media.
“We broke the internet!” he wrote.
As of Thursday, the fundraiser had brought in more than $216,000.
The nonprofit is seeking volunteers, Do said. The USA Games in Seattle likely will spark a surge of local interest in Special Olympics. Potential volunteers can learn more at special olympicswashington.org/volunteer.
This isn’t the first fundraiser for Pratt with ties to his hometown. In 2016, he held a raffle for a trip to the “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” movie set to raise money for a new teen center at the Lake Stevens Boys & Girls Club. That effort brought in nearly $500,000. The Dan Pratt Memorial Teen Center, named in honor of the actor’s late father, opened in September.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.