"These are my living angels:" Huge benefit held for Badgers lineman's mom, diagnosed with kidney cancer
WIND LAKE (WITI) -- On most Saturdays in the fall, Kyle Costigan lives out his dream as a Badgers football player. But last Saturday was a bye week -- and that gave Kyle a chance to be with his mother, and witness an outpouring of love for her during an incredibly difficult time.
Everybody, including one of his high school teachers, pulls for Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Kyle Costigan. A 6'5" 319-pounder, the fifth-year senior was a star at Muskego High School.
"Just an amazing, kind-hearted, thinking of other people ahead of himself young man," Linda LeMaster said.
Dennis and Sandy Costigan raised him right. Kyle Costigan is humble, and he's one tough young man -- having bounced back from a gruesome knee injury he suffered over two years ago.
But Kyle Costigan will be the first to tell you that the toughest member of the Costigan clan is his mom.
Sandy was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer last February 14th. She is 58 years old.
"She's my mom. She's my favorite person, obviously. She's my biggest fan. She's the most beautiful lady I know," Kyle Costigan said.
Considering the circumstances, Sandy could have stayed home last Saturday, September 13th, but she wasn't going to miss the benefit put together for her by family members and friends. It seemed as though everyone in Wind Lake -- a close-knit community of 5,000 might have made it to the Roadhouse at KB2.
"It's so overwhelming. It's just -- I can't believe it. It's crazy. So much work went into this. I appreciate everything everyone has done for us. I just hope I live long enough to pay everybody back," Sandy Costigan said.
Sandy Costigan has always been a giver -- so this was a chance for everybody she's touched to repay her -- from the folks wearing the Sandy's angels T-shirts to the members of the Meinen family, who presented her with a check from the proceeds raised at a golf tournament in memory of their mother, also named Sandy, who lost a battle with breast cancer 11 years ago.
"It's never easy, but I just want to say that we really feel for Kyle and his family and what they're going through, and we pray for them. We're just really happy to be a part of this. It feels right to be able to donate to this. Such a special family, touched in a special way," Stacey Meinen said.
"It's unbelievable. I just cannot understand how all these people can come together to help us out in a time of need. It's beautiful. It just tears me up," Dennis Costigan said.
"Seeing everybody and seeing how it all panned out and came together is heart-warming and absolutely incredible," Jamie Costigan said.
"My mom, she means a lot to a lot of people, and she's done a lot. She's always put everybody in front of her own needs -- her friends, her family, anybody who needed anything. She did everything, so for the shoe to be on the other foot, it's pretty hard for her, but I think today is going to be pretty eye-opening for her," Deanna Zettel said.
"This is, I know, very overwhelming to her. I mean, she walked in and she was crying instantly because she just can't believe how many people, you know, have showed up and are willing to support her," Tracey Zettel said.
Sandy Costigan and her family have had to deal with an unspeakable burden, but no matter what lies ahead, they'll walk through it together, and with the knowledge that they'll do so with the love, support and prayers of everyone they've touched.
"These are my living angels," Sandy Costigan said.
Some of Kyle Costigan's Badgers teammates came to the benefit to show their support. Former Wisconsin coach Brett Bielema called and made a generous donation.
CLICK HERE to visit the Sandy's Angels Benefit's Facebook page.
CLICK HERE to visit Sandy Costigan's "GoFundMe" page.