Charles Buck is a 36-year-old with developmental disabilities and kidney failure. He’s spent the last six years receiving dialysis treatments and spending hours watching the Oakland Raiders on TV and playing as them on his PlayStation.
“Since I was here … I want to watch a real game, instead of watching on TV all the time,” Buck said.
Buck’s never been to a game in person. In fact, he’s never been to California. Being a Raider fan is just something that runs in the family.
“We just like them, so that’s how I like them,” he explained.
Brooke Burt, assistant director of nursing at Gateway Transitional Care in Pocatello, has worked with Charles for six years and says football is always on his mind.
“Football, Raiders, that’s kind of one of his big things. I don’t think he’s gone a day, a conversation, maybe one or two, without the Raiders being brought up,” Burt said. “I think everybody that works at Gateway knows that Charles loves the Raiders.”
Unfortunately, Buck doesn’t qualify for a kidney transplant and his prognosis isn’t promising. So, the ELF Project stepped in to help make his dreams come true.
“When you work on dialysis for six years, you see a lot of people that have a lot of dreams and Charles just stuck out,” Dominee Hall, an ELF Project board member and social worker at the Idaho Kidney Center, said. “He shows up every day to dialysis decked out in his Raiders gear and his Raiders blanket.”
Hall says a collaborative effort spanning several months will fulfill Charles’ wish on November 17 when the Raiders host the Cincinnati Bengals.
“What a cool accomplishment,” Hall said, “just to be part of making someone’s dream come true. There are so many stories and so many people that you meet and so many times that you want to make life better, even if it’s just for a day.”
Traveling with Brooke to see the game in Oakland will truly be a dream come true, but Charles has one thing in mind that would really be the cherry on top.
“I really want to meet the team and everybody. The coach and everything. I hope I can meet ’em,” he said.
Before any of that can happen, the group needs to hit a fundraising goal. The cost of the trip is said to be approximately $5,000.
In an effort to hit the mark, Charles and others will be taking part in a tailgate fundraiser at the Idaho State homecoming game on Saturday.
Charles will be hanging out at the ELF Project booth on the north side of Holt Arena before the game.