On December 6, guests across the U.S. will line up around the block to get five free boneless wings at any Wing Zone location. The free boneless day serves as a promotion of the company’s newest flavor, Korean Q, as well as a way to bring attention to the Ben Abercrombie Fund and #StandUpForBen campaign. The fund and campaign were created by family and friends of Ben Abercrombie, the son of Wing Zone franchisee Marty Abercrombie, who was paralyzed while playing football as a freshman at Harvard University. The fund aids in realizing Ben and the Abercrombie family’s dream that he’ll one day walk again.
“Our franchisees come first at Wing Zone and when we heard about Ben’s injury and the impact this was having on Marty and his family, we banded together to come up with a way to help support them while also giving back to our Flavorholics in the middle of the holiday season,” says Matt Friedman, co-founder and CEO of Wing Zone. “We hope our guests enjoy the new Korean Q flavor, but that they’ll also stand with us in our effort to ‘Stand Up for Ben’ and help us support the Abercrombie family during their time of need.”
During the campaign, Wing Zone will donate $1 for every five free wings provided to guests on December 6 to the Ben Abercrombie Fund. Guests will also have the opportunity to donate any amount directly to the Ben Abercrombie Fund or The Benson M. Abercrombie '21 Fund, a fund set up by the Harvard Varsity Club to support the family and the families of any other Harvard athletes who suffer catastrophic injuries while enrolled at the university.
“I really appreciate what Wing Zone is doing to help support Ben and our family,” says Marty Abercrombie, a Wing Zone franchisee with locations in Hoover and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. “We are working to cover costs like home renovations, a van, and different technology to help Ben live a normal life. We’re hoping for longer term recovery but preparing for him to get back into school and do the things that a normal 18-year-old does.”
Ben Abercrombie was a standout athlete and student at Hoover High School. He was recruited to play football at Harvard University and received an academic scholarship. Tragically, Abercrombie was paralyzed from the neck down during a play in his very first collegiate game as a safety with the team on Saturday, September 16. After being rushed to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, the medical team performed successful surgery to repair his damaged vertebrae. However, the injury still left Ben without the use of his arms or legs.
Ben is now going through rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, the home of Wing Zone’s corporate headquarters. Marty and his wife, Sherri, are living in Atlanta and overseeing Ben’s progress, and his brother, Cory, visits while also going to graduate school at the University of Alabama. Marty documents Ben’s progress in an online journal and the family plans to spend the holidays in Atlanta while Ben continues his rehab. The Abercrombie family has expanded too. Several former Harvard University football players have sent their well wishes or even visited Ben at the Shepherd Center. The family has received an outpouring of love and support from those touched by Ben’s story and from the college football arena and beyond. The Hoover community has also rallied around Ben and his recovery, creating the “Stand Up for Ben” campaign with the hashtag #StandUpForBen and raising funds for the family through local restaurants and community members coming together in support.
In less than a month, Ben’s neck has gotten stronger and he has better neck control while also regaining some feeling in his shoulders. But the recovery process is one that will take time.
“It's a long journey and a long battle to get back to using his hands and his arms again, and hopefully his legs. It's his objective to walk again,” says Marty Abercrombie. “It's going to be a long road. We're praying that he heals. We know he's going to improve and get to where he wants to be. His body just needs time to heal.”
The Wing Zone boneless wing promotion will take place at all domestic locations on Wednesday, December 6. All guests will receive five free boneless wings with no purchase necessary and are encouraged to try the brand new Korean Q flavor, a Korean barbecue-inspired flavor with a mixture of sweet, savory and spice.
Those hoping to help support the Abercrombie family can do so by simply visiting Wing Zone on Wednesday, December 6. They can also donate to the Ben Abercrombie Fund set up at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Hoover by selecting the Ben Abercrombie Fund in the drop-down menu here or by sending checks to Christ the King Lutheran Church at 611 Riverchase Parkway West, Hoover AL 35244 with “c/o Ben Abercrombie Fund” on the memo line of the check. The Harvard Varsity Club has also established The Benson M. Abercrombie '21 Fund which raises money to support the Abercrombie family and any future Harvard undergraduate student-athlete who incurs a severe or catastrophic injury while competing for the Crimson and enrolled at Harvard College. All donations are tax deductible and donations to The Benson M. Abercrombie ’21 Fund can be made here, by calling 617-495-3535 or sending checks to the Harvard Varsity Club at Murr Center, 65 North Harvard Street, Boston MA 02163 with “Abercrombie Fund” on the memo line of the check