CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Handicap accessibility issues at Bank of America stadium almost cost a dying veteran a chance to see his beloved Carolina Panthers play, until FOX 46 stepped in to get results.
“He is loving it,” said Holly Prychodko. “He has the biggest smile on his face. I have to calm him down some.”
The Panthers may have lost Sunday but Jack Campbell, 73, is smiling.
“He’s just so happy to be here,” said Prychodko.
The Vietnam veteran has been a season ticket holder for 25 years and is “one of the biggest Panthers fans around,” according to his daughter. A recent lung disease confined Campbell to a wheelchair and in need of constant oxygen.
“They told him at his last doctor visit that he probably has a good six months in him,” Prychodko told FOX 46 last month. “And, just, you know, live life.”
Campbell was determined to see his beloved Panthers paly one more time. But because he can’t walk up stairs, and needs to be in a climate controlled indoor area, he can’t get to the seat he’s already paid for. Prychodko says she was forced to sell their tickets because the only solution given to them was to pay $200 extra per game to upgrade to an indoor suite that was handicap accessible.
The family turned to FOX 46 for help and we’re getting results. The owner of the Panthers, David Tepper, responded the very next day.
“I actually sent that story [that] was by FOX 46, I saw [it] yesterday on Twitter, so I sent that story about that veteran to my assistant just to check that out,” said Tepper. "So, actually to tell you the truth, I’m on top of that."
The team responded by giving the family a free suite to watch Sunday’s season opener against the Los Angeles Rams. Campbell was given a gift bag with team gear and even got a visit from the TopCats cheerleaders.
“I feel like I’m in a dream cause this has been such a great day for me and my dad,” said Prychodko. “I just really want to thank the Panthers.”
Cell phone video shot by Prychodko shows Cambell smiling wide and giving a thumbs up. She says she received “so many” messages from fans offering to donate their tickets after watching her story.
“I’m so super thankful that everyone was trying to help,” she said.
For the family, it was a win, no matter the score.
“Thanks FOX 46 for getting results,” said Prychodko.