An Indiana teen who spent years collecting sports memorabilia with his dad, only to have his entire collection stolen during a burglary while the family was out of town for Thanksgiving, received an unexpected surprise thanks to the power of social media.
Jack McGee and his father, both big sports fans, had been collecting a number of sports keepsakes over the years when they came home one day to find it all missing. Someone broke into the McGee’s Indianapolis home while they were away over Thanksgiving, stealing any valuables they could find – including the memorabilia kept in McGee’s room.
McGee, an 18-year-old with cerebral palsy, is a big Chicago sports fan and had autographed jerseys, baseballs and pucks in his bedroom.
“It takes a special kind of person to break into his room,” said his father Mike McGee. “We have pictures of him all over his room. So they know what kind of a person they’re stealing from. So that really hurt.”
After the burglary, Mike Mcgee turned to social media for help. He listed all of the items taken from his son’s room, including a football autographed by Mike Ditka, Blackhawks jerseys autographed by Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Daniel Carcillo, a Cubs jersey autographed by Mark Grace and more.
“If anybody happens to hear of anyone trying to sell it, please let me know,” he wrote.
The post struck a chord with another diehard hockey fan- Elayne Desalvo in Arlington Heights, whose two sons played hockey.
“When I saw the number of Blackhawks items I thought it might be a good idea to contact the Blackhawks,” she told NBC 5. “I knew that organization would do what they could to help them out. They’ve done it for me. I know they’ve done it for others.”
Desalvo has worked on fundraisers with the team and sent an email to her contact, getting a response within minutes.
The Blackhawks agreed to replace some of the stolen items.
“Chills. I mean, I couldn’t believe it,” Mike McGee said of the moment he learned the news.
There are still plenty of items missing from the McGee’s home, but they said they still have each other, and now, an unlikely friend hundreds of miles away, all thanks to the power of sports fandom and social media.