The City of Seattle held a parade Wednesday to honor the Seahawks and their fans, the 12th Man. The city’s celebration was the largest in history, playing host to more than 700,000 people, who flooded the streets to cheer for their Super Bowl Champion team. Standing out amongst the endless sea of blue and green was a single strand of red and gold, the colors of their fiercest rival, the 49ers, worn by one brave fan. The pictures and story circulated rapidly through news and social media outlets. Eventually, a rather sad story unfolded about a 15 year-old ward of the court living in a shelter. The story of the homeless teen inspired Seahawks and 49ers fans to unite in raising over $18,000 in less than four days.
Naturally, both the local media and Seahawks fans took notice of the lone teen boy who was decked-out head to toe in 49ers gear. Almost instantly, hordes of pictures and video were circulating all over the web. The pictures and reports went viral, eventually reaching Catherine Tate, a faithful 49ers fan in Northern California. Catherine was inspired by what she saw, knowing the kind of courage it required to stand alone amidst hundreds of thousands of rival fans.
As a result, Catherine reached out to a local Seattle news station on a quest to find more information about the boy and to offer him and his family tickets to a 49ers game. Catherine was dismayed to learn that the 15 year-old was more than just a displaced 49ers fan living in Seahawks country. The teen is actually a ward of the court and aside from a Kirkland shelter, has no place to call home. Touched by his story, Catherine set up a campaign on the fundraising site, GoFundMe. The purpose of her campaign was to collect donations to benefit the unnamed teen, whom she refers to as Waldo. As a result of her efforts, fans of both the Seahawks and 49ers, normally nasty rivals with an intense mutual dislike, have united in raising over $18,000 for the homeless teen in less than four days.
Despite the heated rivalry between the 12th Man and the Niner Empire, this is not the first time these passionate fans have come together to benefit their rival city’s charity. For example, 49ers fans donated funds to Seattle Children’s Hospital late last year; likewise, Seahawks fans started a campaign that has raised over $77,000 to date for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco.
Catherine originally started the campaign out of compassion and concern for Waldo’s situation; little did she know what effect it would have on those who donate. The comments attached to donations alternate between “Go Hawks” and “Go Niners”, but all have expressed genuine regard for the cause; a cause that has genuinely brought people together to benefit someone less fortunate.
Additionally, help has come from 49ers Safety, Craig Dahl, whose tweet promoting the cause has been retweeted over 90 times. Hopefully, efforts like Dahl’s will be repeated and continue to generate funds for Waldo. Catherine’s ultimate goal is to raise enough money to create a college fund, as Waldo shared his dream of attending college. He also expressed his gratitude to all those who have donated and hopes to one day pay it forward and help others in his situation. Thanks to Catherine’s efforts, raising over $18,000 for the homeless teen and uniting Seahawks and 49ers fans, Waldo’s dream may come true.
By Chavala Trigg