By Denise Koch

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — What started as a local fundraiser six years ago to raise money for veterans has turned into a national effort as teams play lacrosse for 24 hours straight – all for a good cause.

Shootout for Soldiers was started in 2012 by a group of seniors at Boys’ Latin School of Maryland who decided to use lacrosse to raise money.

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Boys, girls, adults, veterans and special needs players received a military sendoff before taking the field to raise money — and lots of it.

“Between the two teams, we raised over $5,000,” one coach said.

Ryan Major was wounded in Ramadi, Iraq in 2006. He comes to Shootout every year to watch lacrosse and to chat with a generation that may feel far removed from war.

“They’re thankful and appreciative of my service and it actualy makes me feel a lot better than before I came, so it’s helping both of us,” Major said.

Tyler Steinhardt founded Shootout in Baltimore.

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“Four-and-a-half million veterans have gone over to War on Terror in the last 18 years alone. And we saw what was happening, they weren’t getting that respect, they weren’t getting that treatment they deserved,” Steinhardt said.

By 2014, it was in two cities then five the next year before crossing the $1 million mark in 2016. It’s now in 12 locations all summer long, all across the country – and it’s still a marathon.

Over 24 hours, 42 individual games are played — no matter the weather. Players range from ages 6-72.

“The old saying, give back, and that’s exactly what it is. A great opportunity to give back to the soldiers and veterans who have done so much for us,” referee Robert Burris said.

Lacrosse started at 7 p.m. Wednesday and ends Thursday night. The fundraiser is set to raise $150,000. The event heads to Washington, D.C. this weekend before going to Boston.

Click here for more information on Shootout for Soldiers.

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