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: