VIP game day experience for seriously ill children and families

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- For kids like Matthew Campbell, getting up close with the Wolf Pack coaches and players is a feeling unlike any other.

"It was mind-blowing," said Matthew Campbell.

Several families got that same chance through Special Spectators. The nonprofit worked with the Nevada athletic program and the Northern Nevada Children's Cancer Foundation to create a VIP game day experience for a group of seriously ill kids and their families.

"It's hugely important to make sure that these kids are experiencing things like this. Getting out into the community, getting out with their families and making these memories. It's so important to us, it's so important to their families. This is something they will take with them for years," said Whitney Pomi, Director of Programs and Service, Northern Nevada Children's Cancer Foundation.

The kids got to meet the Wolf Pack mascots, cheerleaders and players, and some even got autographs. They also visited the team's locker room and watched the team warm up from the sidelines.

"We just want to honor them. We know that they have struggled and they have fights and that hopefully they are being strong and going through them," said Matt Mumme, Wolf Pack Offensive Coordinator.

During the tour, Nevada staff helped Matthew celebrate his birthday. He turned 12 years old and Saturday’s experience is something he won't forget.

For the last year he has been battling Thalamic Glioma, a brain tumor that is in the middle of his brain and it's the size of a golf ball. Due to the cancer, Matthew doesn't have any control over the left side of his body.

"He was extremely athletic and now he is just determined to try to work as hard as he can, even though he will probably always have a deficit," said Leslie Campbell, Matthew’s mother.

After a procedure, the tumor is now a third of the size. For Matthew and other kids battling cancer, there are plenty of ups and downs on a daily basis, but experiences like this are definitely one of the highs.

"It was going to be so cool and it's even better when you come here," said Matthew Campbell.

During the first quarter, all the families were recognized on the video board.