A total of 165 Cubs fans set up fundraising pages on the GoFundMe website in hopes of attending World Series games, including terminal cancer patients who bleed Cubbie blue and self-proclaimed superfans willing to reward their financial backers with ballpark selfies.
All told, their pleas sparked a total of $135,000 in donations, according to GoFundMe spokesman Bobby Whitmore. And a few saw their dreams of attending a game completely realized by donors’ generosity.
“I think it is amazing how this works,” said Andrew Mowery, who on Tuesday night posted a GoFundMe plea to cover Game 7 tickets and a trip to Cleveland for his 83-year-old father, Jim Mowery, and 75-year-old uncle, Dave Mowery.
By Wednesday morning, his father and uncle were on flights to Cleveland. Meanwhile, Andrew Mowery was lining up tickets on StubHub. In 15 hours, they’d pulled in $3,500 in donations.
Jim Mowery, a longtime Cubs season ticket holder, went to Friday’s game at Wrigley. But he and his brother didn’t have the means to drop thousands of dollars on tickets for Game 7, his son said.
What the brothers lack in cash, they make up for with a rich storyline, though.
As boys growing up on theNorth Side, they waited in line for $1.50 seats to see Game 7 at Wrigley Field in 1945 — a fact Jim Mowery advertises in large white letters on a sweatshirt he sometimes wears to Wrigley. Jim Mowery’s trip to the ballpark on Friday had gotten some attention from local TV stations, sohis son figured he might be able to raise money to get him to Game 7.
Of the online fundraising site and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, Mowery said: “They have made the impossible, possible.”
Others weren’t as lucky. With ticket prices averaging more than $2,000 for the three games at Wrigley Field and Game 7 prices hovering near that amount at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, not every GoFundMe campaign was a complete success.
A campaign started by fans to buy World Series tickets for the Cubs 2003 playoff fall guy, Steve Bartman, netted $3,680 — but Bartman never sought to collect the funds raised. The website indicates the money instead will go to Alzheimer’s research.
And while the Cubs’ success has been a bright spot for Nashville resident Mike Spore since a cancer diagnosis in January, he wasn’t able to raise enough money to get through the gates at Wrigley this weekend, said his wife, Lindsey.
When he was diagnosed, the native of Streator in downstate Illinois said, “The Cubs are going to win the World Series, and I’m going to die? What kind of crap is that?” according to his GoFundMe page, which raised $2,325 toward a goal of $15,000 for tickets, travel and lodging for the games at Wrigley Field.
The donations covered some of the airfare for the couple and their two sons, but it wasn’t enough for their hotel or tickets, Lindsey Spore said. Still, the campaign wasn’t a complete loss.
“We ended up watching the game at the Hyatt with some family that came up,” she said. “It would have been amazing to go to the game, but it ended up just being a nice little trip.”