Special Spectators holds reunion, fundraiser at 2020 Senior Bowl

Special Spectators holds reunion, fundraiser at 2020 Senior Bowl
Special Spectators founder and executive director Blake Rockwell speaks to families and supporters during Thursday's first-ever fundraiser and reunion in Alabama. (Dennis Washington / Alabama NewsCenter)

A nonprofit organization dedicated to helping seriously ill children held its first fundraiser and reunion in Alabama Thursday night.

Special Spectators hosted children, families and supporters at Moe’s Original BBQ in downtown Mobile. Blake Rockwell, founder and executive director of Special Spectators, said the event was a fundraiser for the charity as well as a reunion to celebrate the partnership his organization began six years ago with the Reese’s Senior Bowl and USA Health Children’s & Women’s Hospital.

“We’re here in Mobile where we’ve received tremendous support in the past,” Blackwell said. “Here to see old friends, make new friends and raise some money to send more seriously ill kids to one of the greatest days in their lives.”

Special Spectators holds fundraiser, reunion at Senior Bowl 2020 from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Special Spectators creates VIP all-access game-day experiences for seriously ill children and their families at sporting events across the U.S. Since 2002, the organization has hosted more than 10,000 patients, parents and siblings at nearly 450 games. Blackwell said his volunteers give these children and their families a reason to smile.

“It really is a team effort,” Blackwell said. “Sometimes that’s an overused phrase or term, but it really is a team effort. So many people behind the scenes, so many people make it happen, and we can’t thank those partners enough, and we just really appreciate everything they’ve been doing for us.”

Thursday’s event included an appearance by several Senior Bowl players, including former Alabama football quarterback Jalen Hurts and Auburn football offensive lineman Prince Tega Wanogho. Several autographed football helmets were auctioned.

To learn more about Special Spectators, visit specialspectators.org.

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