The Tennessee fanbase is uniting together to make an impact far bigger than any football game.
A GoFundMe began at the beginning of the week to raise money for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The Volunteer Spirit Fund, organized by Brent Baltzer and VFL Jayson Swain, has already raised more than $48,700 in the first three days.
“On Saturday, October 16th 2021, Lane Kiffin and his #12 ranked Ole Miss Rebels rolled into a rocking, raucous Neyland Stadium,” the fundraiser’s introduction reads. “It was an incredible atmosphere, a peak representation of how magical college football can be. Despite being marred by injuries and decimated by the transfer portal, coach Josh Heupel and his rag-tag skeleton crew almost pulled off the upset! They fought hard and they never gave up. They reminded us of what it really means to be a Volunteer!”
The idea behind the fundraiser stems from the SEC’s $250,000 fine to Tennessee as a penalty for the trash-throwing incident, as mentioned in the website’s description.
“Let’s raise $102,455 for the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital,” the closing statement reads. “These funds will help the hospital to keep an open-door policy to help sick kids in the Knoxville area. The minimum donation is $5. If just 20% of people that were at Neyland Stadium donate that amount, we will blow this goal out of the water!”
At the time of this publication, more than 1,400 donations have already been made. However, it doesn’t look as though it is only Tennessee fans with a generous spirit. Before the Vols take on Alabama this weekend, a Tide fan’s reply to the fundraiser tweet began to gather attention.
“This BAMA fan just donated!” said one reply on Twitter. “I’m challenging other BAMA fans to help!”
Former Tennessee wide receiver Jayson Swain has been a significant part of The Volunteer Spirit Fund marketing campaign on social media.
“Thank you to all!” Swain said in an update on the fundraiser’s website. “102,455, here we come!”
VolNation Fundraiser for Children's Hospital https://t.co/achC7PR5nh
LET'S CRUSH THIS!!!!!!
— Jayson Swain (@SwainEvent) October 20, 2021