Friday, September 21, 2007

Northwestern University Hosts Special Spectators

Last weekend, Northwestern University raised the bar for Special Spectators events. Over 30 children and family members attended one of the best Special Spectators events from start to finish that have been put on since 2002.

The event started with a tailgate party where children were able to paint their faces and enjoy some great tailgate food under the cool autumn sky. The kids were joined at their tailgate by a group of former Northwestern football players, including Doug Szymul and a host of others. The tailgaters enjoyed a 'Baggo' tournament as well.

After the tailgate, the group traveled to the stadium where they were able to get a pre-game locker room tour hosted by several football players. After the tour, Coach Fitz came to meet the group as the team entered the stadium. In between, the kids even got to visit the NU broadcast booth where Dave Eanet treated the guests to a crash course in broadcasting!

The families enjoyed the entire evening, including the game even though the Wildcats lost a heartbreaker to the Blue Devils.

While the Wildcats lost a tough game on Saturday, everyone associated with the event came out winners - including the Wildcats. Thanks to Northwestern University for leading the charge and raising the bar for its peer schools to match the level of excellence provided for these Special Spectators.

Indiana University Hosts Special Spectators on the 15th

Indiana University hosted over 20 Special Spectators at last week's game versus Akron. The day started with children arriving for the pre-game Special Spectators tailgate party hosted by the Indiana University Alumni Association.

The children were greeted at the tailgate party by several student-athletes including members of the cheerleading squad and the baseball team. One lucky girl was able to climb to the top of a cheerleader pyramid!

From the tailgate, the children and their families went to the game and watched as Indiana improved to 3 - 0 with their defeat of Akron.

Thanks to IU for putting on a great event and making it a special day for our Special Spectators!

Oklahoma Sooners make some Special Spectators feel like rock stars

Last Saturday, the OU football team hosted 5 children from a local children's hospital for the home football game versus ***. The event was planned as part of Special Spectators' annual event at OU - one of the premier Special Spectators events that are put on across the country.

The children enjoyed limousine rides to the game, a pre-game tailgate party, a pre-game tour of the OU locker room and chats with current players. After the tour, the children were escorted to a room where very few but lucky people ever get to go - Coach Stoops' office. Coach Stoops spends time with the youngsters each year at the OU event in a private meeting in his coach's office. He is one of the most active head coaches with Special Spectators and donates a lot of his time and service to help make this day a great and memorable one for the children.

After meeting with Coach, the kids left for the game where they watched Oklahoma defeat Utah State 54 - 3. During the game, the children were guided down onto the field where they were introduced to the crowd of over 80,000 by the public address announcer. The children waved to the crowd from the field and were recognized by the crowd with a standing ovation. At this moment, the crowd recognized the true heroes on the field that day.

Thanks again to the University of Oklahoma for putting on such an outstanding event for these little champions!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Purdue Hosts its 1st Annual Special Spectators Event

Purdue Pete and the Purdue Boilermakers football team hosted 25 seriously ill children and family members at this past weekend's home football game against Eastern Illinois.

The Boilers handled Eastern Illinois easily, defeating the Panthers 52-6.

The children enjoyed a delicious tailgate party hosted before the game and thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the game.

Thanks to Purdue University and the Boilers Athletic Department for making the event a success. This is the first annual trip to Purdue for Special Spectators, and Purdue marks the 4th Big Ten university to join the Special Spectators list of programs. Other Big Ten universities are: Illinois, Northwestern, and Indiana.

If you would like more information on Special Spectators or would like to know how you can volunteer or donate, please visit:

Fresno State Hosts Special Spectators on September 1st Home Game

On September 1, Fresno State treated 100 seriously ill children and family members to a magical day at the home football game. The children were able to enjoy a wonderful tailgate party where former FSU start David Carr stopped by to sign autogrpahs for the kids. In addition to the current NFL star, the men's and women's basketball teams and the volleyball team visited the tailgate and spent time with the children.

In addition to the tailgate, the children and family members attended the game where Fresno State defeated Sacramento State 24-3.

If you would like more information on Special Spectators or if you would like to volunteer or donate, please visit our website at:

The University of Illinois Hosts Special Spectators

This past Saturday, the University of Illinois hosted more than one dozen families from Carle Hospital at a Fighting Illini football game. The day was planned and put together by Special Spectators and various members of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) at the University of Illinois.

The children enjoyed a delicious tailgate meal provided by Hideway Catering in Champaign. The event was sponsored by the CME Group, who brought a van load of volunteers to help out with face painting for the children, cornhole, event preparation and teardown, and more.

Even thought it rained off and on throughout the day, the families were able to enjoy the game and the 21-0 win by the Illini versus Western Illinois. The game was close early, but the Illini pulled away late in the game and secured the win.

This marks the 5th time that the University of Illinois has hosted a Special Spectators event at a football game. Only Arizona has hosted more events (6). Special Spectators and the families are grateful for the support given by the University.

This fall, the men's basketball team will become only the third men's basketball program in the nation to host a Special Spectators event at the Orange and Blue Scrimmage in October. Stay tuned for more details.

If you would like to donate or volunteer with Special Spectators, please vist our home page at:

Friday, August 24, 2007

In Memory of Kourtlyn Uzoma

Special Spectators is sad to announce that a very dear friend of ours passed away over the weekend on Saturday, August 11. Kourtlyn participated in our Special Spectators event at the University of Oklahoma in 2006.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Miami (FL) Schedules Game Day Event

The University of Miami (FL) has recently scheduled a Special Spectators event for Saturday, September 29. The Hurricanes will host Duke. Miami has been a great partner for Special Spectators and we look forward to building the tradition. The Hurricanes are one of 7 schools from the ACC to participate in Special Spectators events. The others include: Maryland, Florida State, Boston College, North Carolina State, Virginia, and Georgia Tech. Thank you to the Hurricanes for your support!

Akron to Host Special Spectators Event on Sept. 22

The University of Akron will host a Special Spectators event on September 22 vs. Kent State. Akron has been a proud partner of Special Spectators since 2004. In that span, Akron and Special Spectators have worked together to create magical game day events for more than 100 seriously ill children. Akron was also featured in ESPN's "Cold Pizza", seen here: Thank you to Akron for supporting Special Specatators, and keep an eye out on our blog for more updates.

Kansas Nails Down Special Spectators Event Date

Kansas University has scheduled a Special Spectators event on September 22. The Jayhawks have worked with Special Spectators before to create magical game day events for seriously ill children in the Lawrence rea. We're looking forward to a great game day event this year and stay tuned for more news!

Oklahoma Sets Date for Special Spectators

The University of Oklahoma has picked a date for its annual Special Spectators event. Every year, seriously ill children from hospitals close to Norman get the opportunity of a lifetime on a fall Saturday. Children enjoy locker room visits, autographs, a personal visit to Coach Stoops' office, a great tailgate, on-field access and introductions, and pictures with players, coaches, and cheerleaders! Oklahoma puts on an outstanding event, and they have chosen this year's event to be held on September 15. Thanks to OU for putting on such a great event and stay tuned for the results!

NC State Schedules Special Spectators Event

North Carolina State University has scheduled its 2nd Special Spectators event for Saturday, September 15. NC State also hosted a Special Spectators event in 2005 for some seriously ill children in the RTP area. Thank you to the Wolfpack for your generosity and support! Keep an eye out on this blog for updates and pictures from the event!

Northwestern Pencils In September 15 Special Spectators Event

Northwestern University and Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald have scheduled a magical game day event for seriously ill children in the Chicago area. The event will consist of pre-game fun such as a tailgate and an opportunity to meet some of the players and coaches. Former NU players will be pitching in at the tailgate to volunteer and play around with the children. Northwestern has put on a great event every year and Coach Fitz and the rest of the Northwestern football program have been extremely generous in giving their time to Special Spectators. This year's event will be held on September 15. More details to follow. Thanks to Northwestern University for your support!

Georgia Tech Schedules Special Spectators Event

Georgia Tech has scheduled its second annual Special Spectators event for its game against Samford on September 8. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 1:30 PM ET. At last year's event, the children had a wonderful time. They got to participate in the "Yellow Jacket Walk"; they were able to enjoy a great tailgate meal before the game; they had special access to the field where they received a pre-game announcement in front of a sellout crowd vs. Maryland, and they got to take some great photographs with Buzz and the cheerleading squad! The children also enjoyed the game from one of the great suites provided by the university. Thank you to Georgia Tech for your support!

Illinois Schedules Special Spectators Event for Sept. 8

The University of Illinois has scheduled a Special Spectators event for the fifth consecutive year. The event will be held on Saturday, September 8 versus Western Illinois. Kickoff is set for 6 PM. Special Spectators has helped create magical days at college football games for over 3,800 children and family members since 2002. Over 100 children and family members will benefit from this great annual event this fall. Thank you to the University of Illinois!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Indiana to Host Special Spectators on Sept. 15 vs. Akron

Indiana University has committed to a September 15 event with Special Spectators. Indiana is one of four Big Ten universitites that partners with Special Spectators. Indiana hosts Akron on September 15 and kickoff is set for 12:00 PM (EDT). Indiana University became a partner in 2005 and has put on terrific game day events for seriously ill children in the Bloomington area.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fresno State Confirms Event

Fresno State of the Western Athletic Conference has confirmed a Special Spectators event to be held on Saturday, September 1. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM (PDT) vs. Sacramento State. This is the first event that Fresno State has done with Special Spectators and we welcome them into the organization as a collegiate partner. Fresno State has kindly donated 100 tickets to the game for seriously ill children and their family members. The day will include a tailgate party, the game itself, and much much more! Come back and vist Special Spectators' Weblog for more updates.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fitzgerald, Eanet Highlight Great Evening at 2nd Annual Gala

Northwestern Wildcats Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald highlighted the evening at Special Spectators' 2nd Annual Gala on Thursday, July 12, at Fulton's on the River.

Fitzgerald spoke about his belief in giving back to the community and how all athletes and coaches have the ability to do more due to their celebrity image. Fitzgerald also talked about the upcoming 2007 football season and answered questions from the crowd. Dave Eanet, also known as Mr. Wildcat to Northwestern fans, was the emcee for the evening.

The evening was a spectacular between the great food and service, the excellent speakers, and the wonderful cause. Special Spectators was able to raise over $20,000 from the event, an amount greater than 50% of the total cash that Special Spectators has raised since 2002. One lucky person even won a trip to France as part of the Special Spectators Raffle Prize!

The college football season is coming soon, and our list of collegiate partners is growing quickly. Recently added to the list of partners are Boston College and Fresno State University. Game day events at both locations will be anounced soon.

Special Spectators is working closely with Coach Fitzgerald and Northwestern University to put together a spectacular game day event in Evanston this fall. Keep your eyes out for more details!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Special Spectators 2nd Annual Gala: July 12th at Fulton's

Save the date!

Special Spectators is hosting its 2nd Annual Gala on Thursday, July 12 at Fulton's on the River in Downtown Chicago from 5:30 - 9:30.

Special guests to the evening include Emcee Dave Eanet of WGN and keynote speaker Football Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald of the Northwestern Wildcats. The event will also include a silent auction, a raffle, a terrific sit down meal, entertainment, and a chance to meet some of the more prominent sports figures in Chicago!

Tickets go on sale soon! Visit to find out more!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

French Vacation Raffle

As a part of the 2nd Annual Gala, Special Spectators will be raffling off a one week stay in a French country home in the Burgundy region of France. Airfare for two is included in the package.

The price of a raffle ticket is $10. There is no limit to the number of tickets that one can purchase and the winner does not need to be present at the Annual Gala in order to win the prize.

Tickets can be purchased by emailing and following these simple instructions:

Subject Line: Raffle Tickets
Body of Email: # of Tickets, Name, Address, Phone Number

Cash or check only.

This is a great raffle for a great cause. Join us!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Special Spectators Sets Date with U of I Football

Brian Carlwell hoists a Special Spectator.

Special Spectators and the University of Illinois football program have chosen a date for the annual Special Spectators event. This year, the event will be held on Saturday, September 8 for a game against Western Illinois. Kickoff is set for 6 PM.

The Universtiy of Illinois has been a proud partner of Special Spectators since 2003. For the past 4 seasons, the Fighting Illini have hosted as many as 140 seriously ill children and family members for exciting and magical game day events on beautiful Saturdays in the fall.

Special Spectators creates the quintessential gameday experience for seriously ill children and their family members at college campuses around the country. The University of Illinois has taken the lead in putting on outstanding gameday events for the children. A typical gameday event at the University of Illinois includes the cheerleaders visiting the children at the tailgate party, personal visits by players and other student athletes, and even a live performance by the University of Illinois Marching Illini!

Children who have participated in Special Spectators events in the past have created memories that will last for a lifetime for the children and their loved ones.

You can find out more about Special Spectators by visiting the website at

Friday, May 11, 2007

Donate to a Great Cause: Help Our Silent Auction!

Would you like to help Special Spectators grow to its potential? Do you have any connections to athletics that might benefit a silent auction? Do you have any sports memorabilia that you would be willing to donate to charity?

If you answered "Yes!" to any of these questions, then we could use your help to make our silent auction even better. You will be recognized at our event for your contribution.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Welcome to the Special Spectators Blog!

Thank you for visiting the Special Spectators blog. Here you will find updates on upcoming events that Special Spectators is hosting and recaps of the events after they have happened!

Special Spectators, a Chicago-based 501(c)(3), is dedicated to creating magical days for seriously ill children at college and professional sporting events across the country. Currently, we have over 40 partner schools!