Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Project 1-2-3: Day 4 - A Great Partner

Note: Starting May 1st and continuing for the 123 days leading up to the start of the 2011 college football season, "Project 1-2-3" will share pictures, videos and memorable moments from the last nine years of Special Spectators game day events.

Since 2002, Special Spectators has hosted approximately 6,000 seriously ill children, parents and siblings at about 185 games. This wouldn't be possible if not for the support and assistance from a number of people - athletic departments, hospitals, coaches, volunteers, donors, strategic partners and sponsors. We'll feature some of these during "Project 1-2-3". Today we introduce you to one of our first partners - CME Group.

Annually since 2004, CME Group has sponsored the Special Spectators events at Northwestern and Illinois. Community Relations Manager, Greg Carroll, and his group of employees and members have passionately created many memorable moments. Each year, a combined 150 Wildcat and Fighting Illini attendees have enjoyed delicious tailgate parties, face painting, VIP visits and games.

The last two years, Greg and his crew have really been unstoppable. The 2009 and 2010 Northwestern and Illinois events were scheduled on the same day. Fortunately, the kick-off in Evanston was at 11:00 AM each year while in Champaign, the Fighting Illini played night games. That means the volunteers from CME Group arrived at Ryan Field around 7:30 in the morning, helped set-up the tailgate party, served a delicious breakfast for 50 attendees, packed up their vans as the Wildcats took the field and embarked on a three and a half hour drive south. Once in Champaign, they set-up the tailgate party outside Memorial Stadium, hosted 100 attendees from Carle Hospital, served a fantastic pre-game dinner, packed up the vans again, watched most of the game, and headed north arriving home close to midnight.

A famous Chicago sports legend is often quoted saying, "Let's play two." Even Ernie Banks would be impressed by the doubleheader pulled off by Greg Carroll and the volunteers from CME Group. Thank You!!!