Football fan raises $29K for children's hospital from viral plea for beer money

Carson King holds a sign asking for beer money in a screenshot from ESPN's "College GameDay" Saturday. (Photo via WHO-TV)

ALTOONA, Iowa (WTHR) - A college football fan turned a plea for beer money into a major donation to a children's hospital.

As many fans of ESPN's College GameDay do, Iowa State University alum Carson King made a humorous sign to hold up when the popular pregame show went live from his alma mater. He said he thought he could get a few beers, maybe some lattes, for his sign that read, "Busch Light needs replenished. Venmo Carson-King-25."

His sign made it in front of the cameras and, minutes later, his phone started blowing up.

But it wasn't from friends and family who spotted him on TV. It was alerts from Venmo that he was receiving hundreds of dollars in donations.

"I had people from Texas, Idaho, California, Massachusetts, all over. A lot of Clemson people donated. I guess they like Busch Light, too," King told WHO-TV.

When the "beer fund" reached $1,000, King and his parents came up with a plan. He would buy a case of Busch Light, then donate the rest to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital in Iowa City. The hospital has become well-known for "The Wave," a tradition between University of Iowa players and fans and the young patients of the hospital watching the game from their windows.

"Their hospital does great things for the state of Iowa. Both for Iowa State and the University of Iowa. The wave is a huge thing now. Those kids are fighters and they deserve any chance they can get," said King.

Tuesday night, King posted on Facebook that he had received more than $29,000 in donations. Both Busch Beer and Venmo tweeted at King to show their support and will match his donation to the hospital.

He plans to keep his account open through September, then donate the money in person at the hospital.

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