When Sam Henke died Jan. 2 at the age of 29 after a three-month battle with liver disease, his grieving young widow Amy was saddled with thousands of dollars of medical bills.
Bears linebacker Nick Roach, who attended Milwaukee Lutheran High School with both Sam and Amy, is helping Amy and her family by raising funds through a unique online auction.
Fans can bid on more than 40 items through Sunday. Each $10 donation represents one entry—like a virtual raffle ticket—for a specific prize. The three most popular items as of Tuesday were four tickets to next season's Bears-Packers game at Soldier Field, lunch for four people with Roach, and four box seat tickets to a 2013 Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field.
Other prizes include Roach's autograph on a full-size Bears helmet, jersey, hat and workout gloves; a $500 Bears store shopping spree and tour of Soldier Field; and a football and photo signed by both Roach and Bears star middle linebacker Brian Urlacher.
There's also Cubs, Blackhawks and golf memorabilia; Under Armour duffle bag gift sets and VIP tickets to the Shedd Aquarium.
Every person that donates to the fundraiser will receive an 8 X 10 autographed photo of Roach.
"While most of the prizes relate to my relationship to Chicago, I hope fans all over the country will donate generously knowing the impact they will have on a special family in need," Roach said.
A Milwaukee native who starred at Northwestern, Roach has appeared in 80 games with 59 starts in six seasons with the Bears, compiling 278 tackles, 3.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 23 tackles-for-loss.
In 2012, Roach started 14 of 16 games played, recording 84 tackles, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and five tackles-for-loss.