One Day, One Focus, One Family

One Day, One Focus, One Family

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

“This event isn’t about fundraising, it isn’t about raising awareness.  It’s about bringing families together affected by the disease and simply being together.”- Andy Hoffman, Board Chair of the Team Jack Foundation.

Throughout the year, the Team Jack Foundation holds events to raise money and awareness for child brain cancer research.  What most people don’t know is that, in addition to fundraising events, the Foundation holds another special event….a private tailgate party for over 40 families affected by brain cancer in the Midwest.

Every year, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Uplifting Athletes Chapter and Life Skills Department dedicates a game to raising awareness for child brain cancer.  This year, the game was held on October 1 during the Nebraska v. Illinois game.  Prior to the game, families are invited to the team practice and dinner the night before and then are offered complimentary tickets to the game Saturday.  In addition, the Team Jack Foundation holds a tailgate party at Chez Hay in downtown Lincoln. For the fourth year in a row, Sean and Starr Carmichael and their wonderful staff at Chez Hay generously catered the event for over 120 kids and family members affected by brain cancer.  This year was an extremely special year for the tailgate for a number of reasons. 

The generosity of Nebraskans never ceases to amaze us.  When initially trying to book Chez Hay, they already had a wedding reception planned on the same date.  Instead of asking us to find a new venue, the bride and groom so generously gave up the space that morning, delaying their set up, just to let the Foundation use it to host the families.  A very special thank you to the bride and groom,  and the mother of the groom, Valerie Frager, for allowing us to use the space during your important day.

In addition to the children and families affected by brain cancer, we had another special guest, Nebraska’s own Ms. Hannah Huston from The Voice.  In May 2016, the Grand Island native competed on the tenth season of NBC’s The Voice finishing in third place.  Huston made the top four, wrote a song with music sensation, Pharrell, and sang in front of millions of viewers each week.  During the tailgate, Hannah learned about each family, personally visited with the families and even took family photos with each family.

"It was absolutely inspiring to see a community coming together like that. Each family is fighting a battle but are coming alongside one another for support and hope all thanks to the Team Jack Foundation. They are standing up for families and children with brain cancer, helping people in some of the darkest times. I'm just thrilled I could be a part of such an organization that never gives up on people,” said Hannah Huston.

After the tailgate, the families headed over to the Nebraska v. Illinois game where the Huskers took home another win.

This event is unlike any other event that the Team Jack Foundation hosts each year. Unfortunately, in the past years, the event has grown.  This year, more families attended, which means that more children have been diagnosed since the last time we met.

A special thank you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Huskers, the Uplifting Athlete’s Chapter and to Keith Zimmer and his team at the Life Skills Department for once again providing this unforgettable opportunity for these families.  Also, again, thank you to Sean and Starr Carmichael and their team at Chez Hay for catering the event.

Lastly, thank you to all the families for your continued support of the cause.  Since the inception of the Team Jack Foundation, the families alone have raised nearly $125,000 for the disease.  Although this is a fight we don’t want to be fighting, we wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else by our sides...we are one family.



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