A Gofundme account for UCA men’s basketball player and senior Khaleem Bennet has been started in order to raise money for his mother to come to the US and see him play.
Bennett is an international student from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He came to the United States in 2014 to play basketball. However, since Bennett has come to the United States, his mother, Courtney Bennett, has not been able to leave Canada and see her son play due to old legal issues.
Khaleem Bennet’s girlfriend, sophomore, Destiny Cepeda started the Gofundme on behalf of Courtney Bennett in October after hearing her story.
“[Cepeda] never understood why my mom never came to see me play. Basically when I told her the reason she started texting my mom without me knowing and decided to start a gofundme,” Bennett said. The basketball player said when the Gofundme started to gain traction on social media, Cepeda surprised him with the news of her creating the campaign.
Courtney Bennett said the news made her emotional. “I started crying,” Bennett said followed by a laugh. “It was a delightful surprise...it was just great that I finally could be able to take care of my legal issues and travel freely into the states. My mind already went to me sitting in the stands,” Bennett said.
The goal for the Gofundme is $5,000 and as of Nov. 6 it is at $2,280. Khaleem and his mother are hoping to reach this goal before the Arkansas vs. UCA game on Dec. 12.
“UCA and Arkansas are both in state and they haven’t played each other in like 20 years. It’s the biggest game of the year and it would be awesome for my mom to come to that game especially since it’s in Arkansas and she could meet my family out here, my girlfriend’s family and stuff like that,” Bennett said.
Khaleem Bennett has been on the UCA men’s basketball team for four years now and plays as the team's shooting guard. Nevertheless, the decision for him to transition from Canada to the United States was a difficult one for him and his mother.
“He was only just about to turn 16 [when coming to the states] and as a parent you’re not able not ready to stop raising your child at that age…the simple fact that he was a really good kid and to not be able to see him on a daily basis was really heartbreaking for me,” Courtney Bennett said.
Khaleem says the decision put a little pressure on him. “I didn’t want to make my family disappointed so when I came to the states I basically tried to give my all into playing basketball,” Khaleem said.
Khaleem Bennett and his mother stay in contact often through phone calls and FaceTime. “She motivates me, gives me quotes and talks to me before the game. Even after a bad loss...she’ll give me a little time and will text me then talk to me and we’ll go over what happened,” Khaleem said.
“She is one of the main people who are in my support group so for me not to be able to see my mom all the time is hard but I know no matter what I do my mom supports me and she supports me from far away.”
Donations can be made to this Gofundme at https://gf.me/u/y6ckd7.