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Zucker family announces #Give16 campaign

Wild forward spearheading effort to fund Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio at U of M Masonic Children's Hospital

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Tucker Helstrom's time on Earth was cut short. But his legacy continues to grow, thanks to eternal friendships he forged during his life.

One of those he touched so dearly was Wild forward Jason Zucker and his wife, Carly. Helstrom battled osteosarcoma -- a rare bone cancer -- for eight months before dying in July of 2016.

During those eight months, Jason and Carly were one of many regular visitors to Helstrom's hospital room at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.

The experience changed their lives forever.

The Zuckers began their relationship with the hospital by sponsoring "Team Tucker's Locker" inside the Kyle Rudolph End Zone at the hospital, a new space designed to give children and teenagers a place to laugh, relax, engage in healing therapies, and socialize with other kids who know what it's like to spend time in the hospital.

"That was a huge part of it. That was our start in getting to know the hospital and what they do there," Jason Zucker said. "For us, we just saw how great the hospital is with the kids, with families and the patients, just every aspect of it. It's something that Carly and I became very passionate about."

Video: Jason Zucker's Season Kickoff Party

That passion has helped nurture a new partnership with the hospital. Monday morning, Jason and Carly announced they're personally committing $160,000 to kick off fundraising for the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio, a nearly 800-square-foot space for patients, families and friends to feel like they are escaping the hospital.

The initiative is part of the Zuckers' season-long #Give16 campaign.

"The idea was all Carly's; I have to give her the credit," Jason said. "She came up with the idea of doing a season-long campaign for it and doing an allocation per goal and letting fans get involved with it and show their commitment as well.

"Fans are able to support me, support our team and support the hospital all at the same time, which is great."

The Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio will be home to the hospital's state-of-the-art broadcast station, where children will be able to produce and host their own shows. The programming produced will range from music request hours, to game shows and celebrity visits. The dual-purpose space will also feature a fully-outfitted theater designed for children and families to experience being at a professional hockey game as well as a ticketed entrance, food and beverage, large projection screen and special appearances by players throughout the season.

As an homage to Jason's No. 16 jersey with the Wild, the Zuckers are encouraging people to give back in forms of '16,' from 16 cents to $16,000 or anything in between.

Donations can be made directly to Zucker's Crowdfund site.

The Zuckers will give $1,600 for every goal Jason scores this season.

"I'm already down $3,200, but I hope I go broke," Jason said. "I hope I don't have a single dollar left at the end of the season; that would be great."

The Zuckers are also encouraging businesses, sports teams or friends and families in a challenge to raise funds throughout season. The first four groups to reach $16,000 will win a personal skate for 30 people with Jason at Xcel Energy Center, including a locker room tour, photos and autographs.

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