Meet the Finalist: Cade Pinalto


Basketball meant everything to Cade Pinalto. It was his identity, his passion, his dreams. After he was diagnosed with Left Ventricular Noncompaction Cardiomyopathy, however, he could no longer play the sport he loved so deeply. Cade felt an overwhelming loss of passion, drive, identity in the years following the diagnosis.

Things quickly turned around for Cade when he was offered the position of Assistant Coach of the Varsity Basketball team. The experience felt life-changing for Cade. He was able to once again feel the thrill of basketball and the community of his team.

Cade turned this newfound insight and self-growth outward. He and his mother founded Sidelined USA, a nonprofit whose mission is to reunite permanently sidelined athletes with their passions, by providing them with meaningful resources, connections, and mentorship. Sidelined USA has also supported coaches and the sports medicine community all over the nation.

In his award winning essay, he writes, “what’s more important than just being able to overcome one’s challenges, is being able to take your transformative experiences and use them to benefit the lives of others. I feel tremendously blessed to have already experienced the joys of being able to conquer significant challenges in my life and then use those experiences to make a difference in the community.”

Cade’s impact has far transcended the basketball court. Nicholas LoGalbo - Athletic director of Lane Tech High School comments, “Cade is a beacon of light in our school community[...] The confidence that he has ascertained through his journey radiates from him and his peers gravitate toward his leadership” Cade will continue building his community at Baylor University this Fall.

Richie's Spirit Foundation congratulates Cade Pinalto on being named the 2019 College Scholarship Honorable Mention Recipient. Please stay tuned for the announcement of Second Place Scholarship recipient coming soon.