Casey O’Brien raising $1 million for U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 26: Casey O'Brien #14 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers waits to place the ball against the Maryland Terrapins at TCFBank Stadium on October 26, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images ((Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images) / Getty Images)

Even though his playing days with Gophers football are done, Casey O’Brien’s story continues to inspire people every day.

Especially the kids on the 9th floor at the U of M Masonic Children’s hospital, where Casey battled & beat cancer five times.

"Being able to come back and being someone patients can look up to means the world to me," O’Brien told FOX 9.

As someone whose spent more than 300 nights in the hospital, O’Brien wanted to do something to inspire kids going through treatments. A simple gesture to keep kids positive.

"The thought was that I was going to donate a jersey, and it was going to be something kids could see and say, ‘Hey, no matter what kind of news I get, no matter what treatment I have today, there’s somebody who has been here before that’s been able to live out their dream’," O’Brien said.

That idea of Casey’s #14 jersey grew to a much bigger number after speaking with the U of M Masonic Children’s hospital staff.

With help from the hospital, O’Brien is on a mission to raise $1,000,000 to renovate that ninth floor at a place where he spent more than 300 nights. 

"You never want a kid to look forward to going to the hospital, but we can help to make that experience just a little bit better," O’Brien said.

"We’ve polled the patients on what they’d want to have in rooms and we’ve polled the nurses on what they think should be in those rooms," O’Brien added.  "We’ve got a great idea of what we can do with the money, we’ve just got to raise it."

The biggest want from current patients? New TVs. 

"The TVs aren’t very big and they are a ways away from the bed," O’Brien said. "I can relate to it because I’ve been in the rooms."

Casey put in work to get on the football field and that same energy is going into fundraising. O’Brien is helping to organize events & galas to help reach that goal.

"There are a lot of people who supported me and supported children’s cancer when I was playing at the U of M, and we think there are a lot of people who want to help," O’Brien said.

It is all in an effort to help kids in the same shoes as Casey a short time ago.

"I want to get in front of as many kids as I can," Casey said of sharing his story. "It doesn’t have to be football, it can be wanting to be a ballet dancer or a great painter or a singer."

"Whatever it is, you can still go live your dream. I hope that I can show people that it is possible," he said. 

If you would like to donate to Casey’s fundraising campaign, visit