Wing Zone raised money for the Ben Abercrombie Fund by giving away five free boneless wings to every customer who ate at restaurants across the country Dec. 6 and donating $1 for each serving.
Ben is the Hoover High School graduate who injured his neck and was paralyzed in his first game playing football for Harvard University. His father, Marty Abercrombie, is a Wing Zone franchisee with two restaurants, one in Hoover and one in Tuscaloosa.
“Our franchisees come first at Wing Zone, and when we heard about Ben’s injury and the impact this was having on Marty and his family, we banded together to come up with a way to help support them while also giving back to our Flavorholics in the middle of the holiday season,” said Matt Friedman, co-founder and CEO of Wing Zone.
Ben is going through rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, the home of Wing Zone’s corporate headquarters. Marty Abercrombie and his wife, Sherri, are living in Atlanta and overseeing Ben’s progress, according to a statement from Wing Zone.
“I really appreciate what Wing Zone is doing to help support Ben and our family,” said Marty Abercrombie. “We are working to cover costs like home renovations, a van and different technology to help Ben live a normal life. We’re hoping for longer-term recovery but preparing for him to get back into school and do the things that a normal 18-year-old does.”
The Hoover community has also rallied around Ben, creating the “Stand Up for Ben” campaign with the hashtag #StandUpForBen and raising funds for the family through collaboration of local restaurants and community members.
In less than a month, Ben’s neck has gotten stronger and he has better neck control while also regaining some feeling in his shoulders. But the recovery process is one that will take time, his father said in the statement.
“It’s a long journey and a long battle to get back to using his hands and his arms again, and hopefully his legs. It’s his objective to walk again,” said Marty Abercrombie. “It’s going to be a long road. We’re praying that he heals. We know he’s going to improve and get to where he wants to be. His body just needs time to heal.”
The Wing Zone fundraiser also was a way to promote the restaurant’s newest flavor, Korean Q, and guests could donate directly to one of the funds set up on Ben’s behalf.
People can donate money to help with Ben’s care by giving to the Ben Abercrombie Fund set up at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Hoover. To donate to the fund online, visit www.ctkbham.org/donate, or mail donations to Christ the King Lutheran Church, 611 Riverchase Parkway West, Hoover, AL 35244 with “c/o Ben Abercrombie Fund” written on the memo line. The Harvard Varsity Club has also established The Benson M. Abercrombie ’21 Fund, which raises money to support the Abercrombie family and any future Harvard undergraduate student-athlete who incurs a severe or catastrophic injury while competing for the Crimson. Donations can be made online at www.harvardvarsityclub.org/store.html?show_item=2931.Checks may be sent to the Harvard Varsity Club at Murr Center, 65 North Harvard Street, Boston, MA 02163 with “Abercrombie Fund” on the memo line.