All-Star game raises money for Children’s Wisconsin
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Dozens of Wisconsin high school football players would usually be getting ready for an All-Star game this week.
But the cancellation of the game isn’t stopping players and coaches from keeping up with another tradition. For the last 13 years, the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association and Children’s Wisconsin have partnered up to raise more than $4.4 million for children and their families across the state. This year, coaches and players say nothing has changed. One of those coaches is Altoona High School’s Chad Hanson.
“It shows them what they can do by playing a simple game of football,” Hanson says.
Hanson was supposed to be in Oshkosh this week coaching the WFCA All-Star game. But he isn’t letting the pandemic get in the way of raising money for Children’s Wisconsin, an independent health care system dedicated solely to children.
“Our number one goal was not to win the game,” Hanson says. “We wanted to beat the South, but our number one goal was to be the top fundraising team this year.”
Each year, the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for Children’s Wisconsin. This year is no different, despite the game’s cancellation.
“The WFCA and Children’s decided to bring a family in when we had our first meeting for the players and the coaches we did get to see the power of the fundraising,” Hanson says. “They they told their story about how the fundraising efforts of the football players and football coaches through the All-Star game, how that money helped them with what their child was going through.”
For Christine Baranoucky, VP of Engagement & Stewardship for Children's Wisconsin, says the response this year has been amazing.
“This group has raised over $208,000, even knowing that there wasn’t going to be a game,” she says.
So far, Hanson says his team of 46 players and 8 coaches has raised more than $71,000, or just less than 60% of its goal. Elk Mound star running back Blaze Todd says even though he didn’t get to play in the All-Star game this year, he knows the WFCA game is more than just a chance at a few more snaps.
“The kid who talked, it was a really moving experience to hear what he had to go through, but how much Children’s Wisconsin was able to help him,” Todd says. “It was really moving.”
Coaches and players are doing their part to make sure the pandemic doesn’t cancel their efforts to help families in need. Coach Hanson says if you would like to donate, there is still time to help reach the goal of more than $125,000. If you would like to donate, click here.
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