ATLANTA - As the Washington Huskies take on the Crimson Tide in the Peach Bowl Saturday, a special tailgate has been planned ahead of the game to help out a local family in need.
A group of Atlanta friends, all graduates of the University of Alabama, have had previous success in planning tailgates that give back to the community and decided to once again donate toward a great cause. This time, for their friend going through a difficult time.
Back in September, Stuart and Courtney Emerson, of Atlanta, welcome their first child to the world, a beautiful baby girl named Jennings. Stuart said his daughter had noticeable issues from the moment she entered the world and was quickly diagnosed with a brain hemorrhage and uncommon bleeding disorder called Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiec (HHT).
According to Jennings' family, there is no way to prevent HHT from occurring and doctors haven't determined the reason behind her poor health. She's now been in the hospital for more than 12 weeks, with her family remaining by her side.
“We fight each day to find answers to the many questions that have held her at Egleston Children's Hospital of Atlanta for over 12 weeks now. Courtney and I are overwhelmed by the support system our friends and family have provided us so far,” said Stuart Emerson, a graduate of the University of Alabama. “Please keep Jennings Graves Emerson in your thoughts and prayers."
As the 3-month-old remains in the hospital, some of Stuart's college friends decided to use the Peach Bowl to give back to their friend. They organized a tailgate ahead of the game, where a portion of the proceeds will go toward the Emerson family as Jennings fights to get better.
The tailgate will take place at the Mount Gilead Baptist Church starting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Organizers, including Jimbo Haneklau, Harrison Marsteller and Corey Miller, are still accepting donations for those interested in attending the event.
If you would like to purchase a ticket to the 2016 Peach Bowl tailgate, or if you would like to donate and help out the Emersons, click here. As of Tuesday night, more than $30,000 has been raised, with a goal of hitting $35,000. Those wishing to donate to the Emerson family directly, please leave a comment saying "All for Emerson" in the comment section of your donation.
The group hosting the Peach Bowl tailgate also planned successful tailgates for the 2015 and 2016 SEC Championships, which together raised more than $50,000. Those donations went toward Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, The Shepherd Center and the Nick's Kids Foundation.
The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will take place at the Georgia Dome on New Year's Eve. The game starts at 3 p.m.
No. 1 ranked Alabama comes in as a 14 point favorite. A win Saturday would send them back to the national championship for the fifth time under head coach Nick Saban.