One Year Later: Honoring Luke Siegel’s legacy through donation campaign

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 3:32 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock father Tim Siegel wants you to help keep his son Luke’s legacy alive through a special donation campaign surrounding the one-year anniversary of his death.

The teenager died last year from COVID pneumonia, six years after suffering a traumatic brain injury in a golf cart crash. Siegel hopes to keep Luke’s legacy alive, by helping families in similar situations. His foundation, Team Luke Hope For Minds has granted more than half a million dollars this year to achieve that mission, but Siegel says the applications keep coming in.

On the one-year anniversary of Luke’s death, Siegel invited me into his home to hear his mission for the foundation, and what he’s learned in the past year without his son.

This is where the two spent most of their time together in the six years after his crash. While Luke couldn’t speak during that time, his impact is evident through the photos and paintings on the walls. One shelf memorializes Luke with years of signed sports memorabilia from the family’s favorite NFL team, the New Orleans Saints, the Red Raider football team, and one of Team Luke’s biggest supporters, Patrick Mahomes.

Siegel says it’s a little easier to enter the room now-a-days, but today was much different. He turned his phone off just before 8:39 a.m., to avoid seeing the same time he lost his son last year.

“I knew that the days, birthdays, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter would be tough. I didn’t realize how tough,” Siegel said. “I almost feel paralyzed. You know that it’s hard for me just to get out of bed. Today, of course, was the worst.”

After taking care of Luke for six years, Siegel says, in some ways, that became his identity. He says the past year has been a challenge without him, but his mission for Team Luke Hope for Minds keeps him going.

“This keeps me alive, because what it does is it makes me feel like Luke is doing this with me,” Siegel said. “I know that, together, Luke and I are helping families. I look at this mission that I’m doing is with and for Luke and because of Luke.”

The foundation has granted more than half a million dollars this year to support kids with brain injuries and their families. It pays medical bills, provides special lifts for cars, counseling, and support groups. Halfway through the year, Siegel says that’s the entire budget. While there are partners and events to raise money, he says the applications keep coming in.

“Brain injuries among children is so prevalent. Just this week I’ve talked to three families - non-fatal drowning, car accident and a golf cart accident. And of course when I see someone at a golf cart action it hits me even harder,” Siegel said.

Siegel says he wrote on the Pray for Luke Facebook page that he wants to focus less on agonizing over Luke’s loss and instead try to celebrate his life.

“We thought that this day, as difficult as it is, we wanted to make it maybe in some ways rewarding and a happier moment. We need everyone’s support. We need help because I don’t want to tell a family no,” Siegel said.

He created the Luke’s Legacy campaign, asking people to donate $27.75 a month, totaling $333 dollars a year - three being Luke’s favorite number. The campaign lasts through Saturday.

“You see the number every day, you just don’t think about it a lot. But when you see the number three, now I would just hope that you think about Luke and you think about three words - fight like Luke, and I have to do that as well.”

The Texas Tech football team is also honoring Luke’s legacy through that number. This season, Head Coach Joey McGuire is granting the #3 jersey to the player with Luke’s fighting spirit.

“I’ve had a couple of players come up to me and tell me that they’re gunning for that number. That hits me in the heart,” Siegel said.

McGuire will announce the winner next weekend, one week before the Red Raiders first game.

Donate to Team Luke Hope for Minds on honor of Luke’s Legacy here: https://teamlukehopeforminds.app.neoncrm.com/forms/lukes-legacy