MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Despite a bitter rivalry that goes back decades upon decades, Gophers and Badgers fans can come together when it really matters. On Saturday, with a whole lot on the line for both teams, that fact didn't change.
For one tailgating group, the school brought them all together, and the love of the game brought them closer.
"Our tailgating crew is definitely a family," explained Ryan Thorman.
When they heard Katie Keenan, one of their own, was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, they stepped in to help.
"They just did it," said Katie. "They were just like, 'Hey, we're doing this for you.' Just so heartwarming.”
Ryan Thorman organized a fundraiser, not knowing just much this family would grow through it.
Ryan Thorman is the man who got the ball rolling.
"We know that it’s more than just football," he said. "We know that it’s more than just a rivalry between two teams."
A fellow Gopher heard about what Ryan was doing for Katie, so he offered up his tickets to be raffled off. That money would go to the Keenan family, but it doesn’t stop there.
"The best part about the whole thing about the purchase is I have a friend who is a Badger fan, who wants to stay anonymous for this, but he asked me to let everyone know that he would match the 500 dollars.”
Nick Nerland purchased those tickets and the anonymous Badgers fan donated the $500 to match.
“Don’t know ‘em at all, but they’re fellow Gophers, fellow tailgaters...but knowing their story the little bit that I do. I can’t imagine; it’s the least that we can do especially this time of year.”
"When we found out, Gopher, Badger, doesn’t matter,” said Matthew Keenan. “Everyone is on the same team for my wife. It was really something.”
On any other day, the long-standing rivalry may separate them, but Saturday, Katie Keenan is bringing Gophers and Badgers together.
“It’s what you need on those hard days,” said Katie. “It helps you remember that you’re not in this alone. Because look at this crowd of people that showed up, it helps.”