KNOXVILLE – From time to time, we get a reminder that football can be more than just a game.
For Chattanooga natives Matt Horton and his brother Jake Horton, it’s an opportunity to fulfill a wish for their ailing father, Ken Horton.
Ken was recently given approximately two months to live by doctors who have been treating him for stage IV inoperable pancreatic cancer. When he told his sons that one of his final wishes is to go to a University of Tennessee football game, they knew they had to make it happen, even if funding was an issue.
“When my dad told me he wanted to go to a Vols’ game, I could never afford it by myself, but I’d read a lot about crowd-funding for projects like Indiegogo, so I thought I’d give it a try,” said Matt.
Matt and Jake turned to FundRazr.com, a social media-based fundraising app and website, to help make their father’s wish a reality. The goal: $300 to cover basic expenses for a trip for Matt, Jake and Ken to watch Tennessee play Georgia on Oct. 5 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville.
“I was giving it time to maybe build up and, I mean, it’s been less than two days and we’ve hit our goal,” said Matt. “I don’t know any of the people that have donated money – they’ve all been strangers.”
As of Tuesday morning, the donations totaled $308.
It’s a cause that has crossed the boundaries of football rivalries. Matt said the donation that put them over the top came from a self-described Alabama fan, who commented, “Hard for me to say as a bama fan, but GO BIG ORANGE....hope your dad gets to see a victory."
It’ll be the first major sporting experience for Ken, according to Matt. He’s been to minor league games, but never a major college football game of this magnitude.
With $300-plus already donated, the trip is on, but Matt said they would graciously accept any more donations. Perhaps they could get better seats, parking, souvenirs or other mementos from what is sure to be a memorable day for the Horton family.
“We’re going to get him the best seats we can get,” Matt said. “Right now we’re just trying to get three of the cheapest seats we can get, but if more money comes, we’ll definitely go for better ones.”
Regardless of the view, it should be a day to remember.
For more information, or to donate, view the FundRazr profile here.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga
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