Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Carolina Hurricanes Treat Food-Allergic Kid To First Live Hockey Game

I've written numerous times about Raleigh's professional sports team - The Carolina Hurricanes - on this blog.  As a season ticket holder for several years, it was important to me to be able to enjoy games like a normal fan.  That means enjoying food and beverages that are safe for those eating Gluten Free.  As you can see from the link above, the Hurricanes and the fine folks at the RBC Center have been extremely accommodating to those of us with special diets.  But what is more important to me is that children with special diets are taken care of and made to feel like other normal kids.

So this story I found in the current issue of Living Without magazine doesn't surprise me in the least.  The story is about a 7-year old boy named Joseph, who gets to attend his first Carolina Hurricanes game live at the RBC Center.  With the help of All star center Eric Staal and his organization called Eric's Entourage, Joseph was able to safely attend a hockey game without the worry of coming into contact with food he is allergic to.  Joseph gets to attend his first game with his dad by his side - what a special treat!

So allow me to offer a special thank you to the Carolina Hurricanes, Eric Staal and the folks at the RBC Center.  We are lucky to have you here in Raleigh.

Article text is below.

Scoring for Food-Allergic Kids
November 30, 2010

The red, black and white bright lights flashed, the music thumped and the crowd bellowed with cheers. In the seconds before the opening faceoff, Joseph finally experienced the thrill of being at a Carolina Hurricanes hockey game. He held onto that excitement throughout the game, and when he returned home, he basked in the glow of his home team's victory.

My 7-year-old son Joseph was able to safely attend his first NHL game, thanks to the generosity of Hurricanes all-star Eric Staal and his wife Tanya. They created Eric's Entourage to provide a luxury suite during each home game for nonprofit organizations that serve children. In addition, another wonderful local family made sure the suite was free of allergens and that Joseph even had his own snack bag with food free of peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg and soy.

The generosity we felt that night was touching and special on so many levels. The suite allowed Joseph to experience a pro hockey game without worrying about a fan eating peanuts next to him or someone spilling ice cream behind him. And my husband Gary, who is a huge sports fan, was able to share special time with his son cheering for our team, something most fathers take for granted. Gary and Joseph are best buddies, competing against each other on the basketball court, golf course and game room floor (also known as our hockey zone), plus any variety of Wii games. They also enjoy cheering on the Hurricanes from our couch.

But nothing compares to experiencing a game live. Joseph was so proud to wear his Staal-autographed shirt while he sat with his Dad and talked about each play, cheered for their favorite player (Staal) after each of his two goals that night, laughed at mascot Stormy's antics and munched on safe chips.

I’m so thankful for the kindness and generosity of the people who made this sporting event possible for my food-allergic son. They provided an unforgettable experience for my family.

Have you ever felt this way?


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