UA football player sets Christmas fundraising goal for hospital - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

UA football player sets Christmas fundraising goal for Children's of Alabama

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

Sometimes all it takes are small gestures to make sick children feel a little better. Tuesday, it was a visit from a University of Alabama football player.

Lineman Austin Shepherd actually is becoming a regular visitor and donor of Children's of Alabama. He's raising money for the hospital through the Austin Shepherd Foundation. The idea behind it is simple- love saves lives. It's actually inspired by the life of his girlfriend's brother who fought a long battle against cancer.

Children's of Alabama often becomes a second home for sick children and their families. It's where Jenna King's brother, Jon, fought a long cancer battle.

"He loved to help people. He loved to make them smile, and he had gone through so much that he never took anything for granted. That's something I learned from him and the reason I want to give back," said King whose brother died ten years ago when she was just nine years old.

King now returns every month with gifts for other children undergoing treatment.

"The first time was real hard. It brought back old memories. But it's so great because the kids come in and they are sort of star struck at first," she said.

They're star struck by her boyfriend, Alabama lineman Austin Shepherd. He formed the Austin Shepherd Foundation to raise money for Children's of Alabama.

"We've done arts and crafts with them, talked to the families, just tried to help them with what they need. Today, we are going to go around and give them gifts and make them feel welcomed here," said Shepherd.

Tuesday's gifts were Alabama football themed games, Alabama calendars and Alabama nutcrackers.

"They love Alabama football. There are a couple of Auburn fans who are like, 'uhhhhh,'" said Shepherd.

But their message is universal- love saves lives and life is worth fighting for.

"I feel for the kids and just want to help them out," said Shepherd.

Shepherd's goal is to raise ten thousand dollars by Christmas. For more information about the foundation or to donate, click here.

 

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