Zach Bennett is a 10-year-old boy who has a true passion for the sport of hockey. Zach was an avid fan of our former AHL affiliate, the Albany River Rats, and never missed a game. Zach, more affectionately known as “Bug”, was considered part of the River Rats team.
Zach suffers from neurofibromatosis (NF1), which is a genetically inherited degenerative disorder where soft-tissue tumors grow on nerves. He has had over 20 surgeries, including the amputation of both of his legs. He has had a tough first 10 years of life, but his passion for the Albany River Rats got him through each hospital visit.
When the team moved to Charlotte last year, it was devastating news to Zach and his family. Many of the current Charlotte Checkers players had grown close to Zach in Albany and consider him one of the guys and a fellow teammate. Instead of dwelling on losing their team, Zach’s parents decided they couldn’t do without the newly -named Charlotte Checkers and began planning their move to Charlotte. Their decision to do so was not solely based on the team, but it was a leading factor. The nicer weather and well-known medical facilities gave them additional reasons to move down south.
The Charlotte Checkers management has jumped on board to help support the Bennett family and their move. It all started with a reunion and fundraiser for Zach and his family on January 14 at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Since then, the Checkers have continued to find ways to assist the Bennett family financially to speed up the move. The Checkers recently created a fundraising campaign called “Facebook Fandemonium 2” to raise money for the Bennett family. For every “like” of their page, $2 would go to the Bennett Family. If they reached 25,000 fans (which they did today!), each fan would receive a free ticket to the April 4 game.
We are proud to have the Charlotte Checkers as our affiliate and want to join them and help bring Zach and his family to Charlotte. This is where we need YOUR (loyal, compassionate, caring, generous Carolina Hurricanes fans) help!
All proceeds from the silent auction at our game on April 3 (hosted by the Charlotte Checkers Charitable Foundation) will benefit Zach Bennett and his family. Please consider helping this family by coming by the Kids ‘N Community Foundation kiosk (outside of section 129) on Sunday to participate in the auction. The silent auction items for Sunday are:
- Game Worn, Erik Cole Rod Brind’Amour Night Jersey signed by Erik Cole and Rod Brind’Amour
- 2011 Team Staal All-Star Game Jersey signed by Team Staal and Team Lidstrom
- Autographed, Game Issued Zach Boychuk Alternate River Rats jersey
- Autographed, Drayson Bowman game-used stick
- Autographed, Jerome Samson game-used stick
- Game used glove signed by Eric Staal, Brandon Sutter, and Tim Gleason
- Necklace signed by Brandon Sutter, Tuomo Ruutu, Joni Pitkanen, Jussi Jokinen, Tim Gleason, and Jeff Skinner
- All-Star mini stick signed by Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner, Cam Ward, and Jamie McBain
We will be working alongside Charlotte Checkers representatives to raise money for a wonderful family and an inspirational little Checkers fan. Please stop by our kiosk (section 129) on Sunday, and help bring a huge smile to Bug’s face this year.
For more information and video, go to www.gocheckers.com.