Special Spectators is entirely dedicated to bringing the joy of Game Day to seriously ill children to create a day away from their worries and stresses, a wonderful distraction in their often otherwise challenging lives. Along with a team of business-side and events volunteers, Founder Blake Rockwell oversees the national operation, and leads all the relationships with the colleges, coaches, athletic directors, hospitals and strategic partners that play a part in making unforgettable game days happen for the kids. In its lifetime, Special Spectators has served 8,800 seriously ill kids and their families, 50 hospitals, 45 schools -- on campuses nationwide. In 2016, the organization will greatly expand the number of kids served, colleges involved -- as well as venture fully into professional sports.
Over 20 years ago, as a volunteer at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Blake learned how a child living with a serious, life-threatening illness has a deep and profound impact on the entire family. Managing medications; sorting through confusing insurance problems; the anxiety and uncertainty of when and where the next setback will surface; continuing to parent other children, traveling hundreds of miles to receive specialized medical attention. These stresses create a strain that is exhausting for all family members. This leaves little time or energy for creating joy.
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