Making a Difference: Johnstown man wants to give others second chance

Johnstown native Craig Smith wants to give others a second chance through nonprofit. (WJAC)

JOHNSTOWN – You could say Johnstown Craig Smith is a laid back kind of guy. He doesn’t really stress about too much.

"I’m more of a ‘OK, what's next, what do we have to do kind of guy,’" said Smith, the executive director of Second Chance Fundraising.

But it was in 2014 when he found out at the age of 26 his heart was failing and doctors said he would need a transplant.

"First, they didn't really know how extreme it was so it was a gradual thing to find out how crazy it was going to be,” Smith said. “My numbers when they saw me were some of the worst numbers they ever seen they said.”

"When I found out, I didn't know what to think, I didn’t know what to do," said Derek Partsch, Second Chance Fundraising co-founder.

Partsch is Craig's good friend and partner for their Second Chance Fundraising nonprofit.

After Craig had his heart transplant, he decided to start the organization after he was given a second chance at life.

"If we can hold a fundraiser for somebody and raise some money and take the medical worry out a little bit then that can help them along with the situation," Smith said.

And when it comes to benefits or fundraisers, both say they're a little unconventional. They don't host dinners or basket parties. They would rather hold fun events like a cornhole tournament, which will take place at the Windber Recreation Park on May 20.

They said they would rather focus on having fun than the sadness of an illness.

"We want everyone to come together and realize time is the most valuable thing you can have,” Partsch said. “You can raise all the money in the world for someone but if everybody's there and we're having a good time, that will create the attitude that Craig wants to have.”

"So it's kind of taking off, it's keeping us busy, we like doing this kind of stuff, it's been fun for us,” Smith said.

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