When Donny Higgins was a boy, like many Southie kids, he spent hours down the Murphy Rink playing hockey or just enjoying public skating. During the summer months, when the rink was closed, Donny and his friends would play street hockey. Conveniently living across the street from two public tennis courts on Farragut Road, Donny and other neighborhood kids would play hockey in the courts. After a friend’s repeated injuries at the make-shift street hockey rink, it became Donny’s mission to have it converted into something more safe and permanent. He was a determined 10 year-old who lobbied to transform one of the tennis courts into a street hockey rink and it became a reality. That rink is still enjoyed daily by neighborhood kids and is the home to a now legendary annual 3 on 3 Southie Street Hockey Tournament. On Saturday, February 18th – the Annual Donny Higgins Memorial Gala will take place at the Westin Waterfront.
In September of 2009, Donny was diagnosed with colon cancer. For ten tough months,he fought hard but lost the battle and died in July of 2010. He was just 37 years old. Donny was married to Tish Connolly and they have four children. Donny was a friend to all, with a bright personality and the ability to make those around him laugh. The entire community of South Boston was devastated at the loss of such a great guy who added so much joy to so many lives.
Each June, South Boston gathers to celebrate Donny’s life with full day of family fun including a street hockey tournament with hundreds of kids from the neighborhood and beyond.
Donny’s brother Billy is the president and co-chair of the the Friends of Donny Higgins Memorial Fund organized by Donny’s childhood friends. When asked about his brother, Billy’s face lights up. “He was the best! We had 37 years together of pure fun and entertainment. Donny always had smile and we always laughed.”
The purpose of the memorial fund is to maintain the street hockey rink and support South Boston youth sports. Southie youth sports were an important part of Donny’s life. He played both in South Boston Youth Hockey and Southie Little League and understood how vital these programs are to the overall strength and health of a neighborhood. “We want to continue Donny’s legacy in his hometown of Southie and carry on his dedication and commitment to the kids and families of South Boston,” says Billy.
On Saturday, February 18th join friends and neighbors at the Annual Friends Of Donny Higgins Memorial Fund Winter Gala at the Westin Waterfront. There will be entertainment galore with music by North Shore Acappella, the World Premier Band and DJ Ron. Enjoy complimentary beer and wine, food, and an opportunity to win amazing raffle prizes like overnight hotel stays, dinner to some Boston’s best restaurants and a chance to win $10,000! Ticket are $133 through Eventbrite and must be purchased in advance – no tickets will be sold at the door. This event kicks off at 7pm and promises to be a fun-filled night all to help raise funds for the Donny Higgins Memorial Fund. To learn more about Donny Higgins and the fund in his name, visit here!
Donny’s legacy will live on in a very vibrant and energetic spot in our neighborhood – which is fitting. The community of South Boston will forever be stronger because of him.