Don't Stop Believe N - In Finding a Cure

Don't Stop Believe N - In Finding a Cure

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Lincoln was bursting at the seams on Saturday February 25th with former Husker players, generous hearts of Nebraska, and families affected by pediatric brain cancer. Guests from across the state joined together in the fight against pediatric brain cancer for the 4th Annual Team Jack Gala presented by Fat Brain Toys.

This star-studded night included keynote speaker, Kansas City Chief, Eric Berry. Berry was joined by Rex Burkhead, Kenny Bell, Ameer Abdullah, Jeremiah Sirles, Lavonte David, Spencer Long, Quincy Enunwa, Brent Qvale, Jordan Westerkamp, Tommy Armstrong, Jr., Chris Kelsay, Will Compton, Johnny Rodgers, Josh Mitchell, Sam Burtch, Zach Sterup, plus special guests C.J. Zimmerer, Austin Williams, Tobi Okuyemi, Tyler Evans, Derek Foster, Mark Brungardt, Ryne Reeves, Ty Broekemeier, Mitch McCann, Jake Long, Brendan Stai, Alfonzo Dennard, Tony Veland, Jay Moore and others.

Not only are these former Huskers huge advocates for the cause, but they also provided the foundation with a collective donation through family table sponsorships during the Gala. These members of the Team Jack Husker Alumni Chapter are committed to the cause through donations as well as hosting their first event, an alumni golf tournament, this summer generously donating $50,000 to the Team Jack Foundation in less than one year.

Spencer Long, former Husker and current Washington Redskin, tells of his connection with Team Jack: "Having the opportunity to contribute to a foundation such as Team Jack is huge privilege. To my former teammates and I, this foundation hits home, and is one that we hold especially close because of its roots and beginnings with Nebraska Football during our time as players. For me, some of my fondest memories at UNL came from my opportunities to give back through this foundation, for example running down with Jack during his spring game touchdown in 2013, or walking out for "The Tunnel Walk" with a young man by the name of Caleb Gulizia, who continues to inspire me to this day. Sponsoring a table at the Team Jack Gala is the very least we can do to support a foundation that represents such a great cause and such courageous and strong young individuals and the families who support them. The opportunity to do so is an honor in itself, and I am so thankful to be a part of the Gala."

Former Husker and current Baltimore Raven, Kenny Bell also shares his passion for the cause, “This foundation is something I will be involved with for the rest of my life,” Bell said. “It’s a priority. I am very passionate about it because I love Team Jack and love talking to their whole family, plus all the other families we meet. Our relationship is about raising awareness and helping everyone we can.”

The 750 guests in attendance were also dazzled by performances from Nebraska native and The Voice finalist, Hannah Huston. The ballroom was so moved by her performance, she received a standing ovation while children who have been affected by pediatric brain cancer were honored during her song.

One child’s story was highlighted during a special video presentation. Nick Herringer, Hastings native, told of his battle with pediatric brain cancer during a heart-wrenching video as well as a story written by Nick himself in the event program. Berry spoke of Nick’s bravery during his keynote speech along with all of the other families in the room who have or are currently battling this disease.

This event would not be as successful as it has without the dedication from our sponsors including Fat Brain Toys, The Home Agency, the Westerkamp Family, UNMC, Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Nebraska Medical Center, Green Plains Inc, Farmers Mutual of Nebraska, Excel Chiropractic and many more.

Karen Carson, Co-Founder Fat Brain Toys is grateful to be part of the cause saying, "We feel that there is no better cause or organization for us and the team at Fat Brain Toys to give our time, energy, and financial support to than Team Jack.  As a company, we are committed to growing and developing the brains of children through play.  When we learned how few funds were available for pediatric brain cancer research, we felt it was important to help out. It has been a great source of pride for us personally and for our company."  

The movement is having an impact on the No.1 childhood cancer cause of death, pediatric brain cancer. “We are so excited about some of the new developments that have taken place in the last several months – the developments that were made possible by amazing donors from across the state and the country,” Andy Hoffman, Co-Founder of the Team Jack Foundation said. “The future is promising and with all the ongoing support, the sky is the limit.”


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