The tension between the 49ers and Seattle Seahawks is well-documented, but it appears that a 15-year-old homeless youngster from Kirkland, Wash., has brought out the best in both fan bases.
Ronnie Andrews became a hero to 49ers fans everywhere last week when he showed up to the Seahawks' Super Bowl parade wearing 49ers' clothing from head-to-toe. According to a story on the KGO television web site, someone shot a video of Andrews surrounded by Seahawks fans. Now more than $26,000 and counting has been raised for this teen.
What makes this story so compelling is that Andrews lives in a homeless shelter in the Seattle area, according to King5 TV in Seattle.
When Catherine Tate, a Dublin woman and president of Ladies of the Empire, a 49ers booster club, saw his photo, she set about trying to contact the young man so she could fly him to the Bay Area when the Seahawks visit the 49ers at Levi's Stadium next fall. She wanted to give Andrews a front row, 50-yard line seat, and she set up a gofundme.com account to raise money for the trip.
That's when she learned "this kid is only 15 years old, is a ward of the state and living in a shelter," Tate told KGO.
According to King5, because he's a ward of the state, the teen might have to wait until he's 18 before he can take advantage of Tate's offer to see a 49ers game in Levis Stadium. Tate told the station she has been in touch with Andrews' social worker and the offer will stand.
Because a trip to the Bay Area isn't going to cost $26,000 -- even three years from now -- Tate got another idea. On the gofundme.com web site, she wrote, "The money will NOT just be handed over to this minor. Once this minor has been placed with a foster parent we will contact the foster parent and arrange to set up a bank account in this minor's name to be accessed when he turns 18. This minor has a huge desire to attend college and is blown away that so many people want to help him. He fully intends on using this money for this purpose."
Fans from both teams have been raising money for the teen.
"Wow! Over $24,000! This is jus amazing ... God bless you all! #NinerEmpire #LOTE and thanx to the 12th Man too! #TrulyGreatPeople #BiggerThanFootBall," wrote a 49ers fan.
Commented someone from the Seattle area, "Even though I am a die-hard Seahawks fan, I would be willing to provide a room, food/water, clothing and an education if needed."