As part of the United Way and NFL’s 45-year partnership, we held a contest to give away Super Bowl LII tickets to lucky fans who donated to Character Playbook, our signature digital education program that teaches middle school students how to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships, make good decisions, and step in when they see questionable activity
The Christensen Family
Sometimes, life surprises you when you least expect it…that was certainly the case for the Christiansen family from Independence, Minnesota.
Rhonda Christiansen received an email from Greater Twin Cities United Way about the ticket giveaway. She had given to the United Way in the past through her employer, Fairview Health Services, where she works in information technology.
“I thought, that’s really cool that the United Way and NFL have a partnership, and I wanted to be able to support that,” she said of her donation. “I didn’t think anything of it, until I got a phone call.”
The voice on the other end told Christiansen that she was the winner of two tickets to the Super Bowl.
“I was in total disbelief! I thought it was a prank,” she said.
Her 15-year-old son, Sam, who goes to Orono High School was in his room when he heard his mom yelling for him to come downstairs.
“She was like, we just won tickets to the Super Bowl. I said, “no, we didn’t,” and we went back and forth for a few minutes,” Sam said.
Rhonda knew that she wanted her husband, Joel, and Sam to attend the game instead of going herself.
“I love football, but I don’t love football as much as they do,” she said. “We all watch the Vikings, but they watch other teams as well, and so I wanted to give them the tickets because I knew they would really enjoy the experience.”
And the game? “We had a great time,” Joel said. “I loved seeing Justin Timberlake perform, and we’re so thankful to the United Way and everyone involved for the tickets.”
Sarah & Greg
The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t the only ones to leave Minneapolis with a ring—Sarah Roddy from Ontario, Canada, did as well! She won our Super Bowl ticket contest, and her boyfriend, Greg, won her heart at the big game when he proposed.
Sarah had entered our ticket giveaway in hopes of seeing her favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings, on the field Super Bowl Sunday. Shortly after, they were eliminated from contention.
“I knew when I entered the final two teams weren’t determined, but I figured even if the Vikings don’t go, I’m still helping a good cause,” she said.
When she received the email that she won tickets, Sarah said she was at work and completely caught off guard.
“I did not believe it had happened, and when I got home and told my boyfriend Greg he didn’t believe it either.”
The two traveled to Minneapolis for the game as first-time visitors, and said the people were “super-friendly and very welcoming.”
They met Vikings players Adam Thielen and Teddy Bridgewater, team owner Zygi Wilf, and saw Justin Timberlake’s pregame press conference.
During the Super Bowl, Sarah and Greg had seats on the 50-yard line. After it was over, Greg handed his phone to someone nearby and asked them to take a picture. Then, he got down on one knee and proposed and Sarah said “yes!”
Jenna Bennett is a copywriter and social media specialist at Greater Twin Cities United Way, where she enjoys crafting content for multiple GTCUW channels.