Cambria Donates Countertops to WolvesCare Families

As a way of supporting the Nilsen and Hennessey families as their children battle long-term illnesses, Cambria volunteered to donate kitchen countertops to each family on a complimentary basis.
by Mark Remme
Web Editor

For Matt Nilsen and his family, simply being at Target Center for the Timberwolves’ Jan. 16 victory over the Sacramento Kings was a thrill. The Edina High School girls basketball coach loves any opportunity he has to share his passion for the game with his kids. 

But on this night his 7-year-old daughter, Hayley, who was diagnosed with a special form of Muscular Dystrophy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth when she was 5, was a special guest. Along with 6-year-old Luke Hennessey, who was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at 17 months, the two were treated to courtside and suite seats and were part of an on-court WolvesCare Month presentation during which they were recognized for their courage.

Their touching stories moved the crowd of 16,159, including Cambria President and CEO Marty Davis. As a way of supporting the Nilsen and Hennessey families as their children battle long-term illnesses, Cambria volunteered to donate kitchen countertops to each family on a complimentary basis.

For Matt Nilsen, the gesture was another unexpected act of kindness stemming from a night his family will never forget.

 “It’s very special, and for all the difficulties Hayley has had with her condition, it makes it just a little bit easier,” Matt Nilsen said. “So it’s great. I couldn’t be happier.”

Cambria, a longtime partner of the Minnesota Timberwolves, is a Le Sueur-based quartz countertop business with facilities located in the U.S. and Canada. Davis and other members of the company frequent Wolves games, and throughout WolvesCare Month—during which children with life-threatening or long-term illnesses were honored in an on-court presentation during eight home games throughout the month—they were particularly touched by Nilsens and the Hennsseys.

Timberwolves President Chris Wright said Davis asked him after the presentation if Cambria could make a donation to each family.

“We were really moved by their stories and we wanted to show another level of support,” Cambria Executive Vice President Peter Martin said. “We wanted to give another additional layer of support for what each of the individuals and families have gone through.”

To both families, Cambria’s generosity was touching.

“I think it’s great when a company like Cambria is willing to make a connection in the community and wants to help those in need, especially kids who are in a trying or challenging situation,” said Tom Hennessey, Luke’s dad. “And can be sensitive to the adversity that they face on a daily basis. For a company to want to reach out to the families and make a gesture to help them with their struggle, it says a lot and speaks volumes to the type of company Cambria represents.”

Coming off a recently completed house renovation, the Hennesseys decided to ask Cambria if they were willing to instead make their countertop donation to a charity of their choice. On behalf of the Hennessey family, Cambria will be auctioning off the countertop package at the 2012 Muscle Team Gala on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at TCF Bank Stadium. The event takes place from 6-9:30 p.m.

All funds raised at the Muscle Team Gala will go directly toward research to help the Muscular Dystrophy Association find a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. According to the event’s press release, SMA is a genetic disorder that involves the loss of muscle-controlling nerve cells in the spinal cord. Approximately 7.5 million Americans are carriers of the disease.

Suddenly, an already special night of watching basketball as a family has taken on a new meaning.

“Something more,” Tom Hennessey said. “Something much more.”

With Cambria’s help, the Hennesseys hope auctioning off these countertops will bring researchers one step closer to finding a cure for Luke’s disease.

“The gesture was obviously pretty well received by us for them to want to do that personally,” Tom Hennessey said. “But it means more to us to want to help a cause of trying to find a cure for SMA.”

For the Nilsen family, who has two daughters just years away from being teenagers, the donation gives them the opportunity to refinish their basement bathroom. Matt Nilsen said Hayley and 11-year-old Macy already share the Kevin Love jersey Hayley received on WolvesCare night, and when the two grow older the refurbished bathroom will be another reminder of the special evening the family spent together at Target Center.

“To have a big old bathroom, to have that in there is going to be really special and something we’ll cherish as long as we’re in this house, and we plan to stay here a long time,” he said.

“It’s great childhood memories that they’re helping create. You can never put a price on those things.”

Wright said creating a platform for acts of kindness within the community is something the Timberwolves try to facilitate. Through WolvesCare Month, the community relations department helped families going through trying times not only enjoy a night of entertainment, it offered an opportunity to raise awareness toward the illnesses afflicting children in our neighborhoods.

“The fact that you’re touching great business leaders like Marty Davis, who runs Cambria on a day by day basis, and so moved him to make such an incredibly generous offer that he did to those families, really speaks to the power of what we do on our basketball court on a nightly basis,” Wright said. “We want to move people. We want to move our fans, we want to motivate our fans to be involved in the community. This, to me, is one of the great stories of the power around what our community relations department does.”

Martin said the WolvesCare program is a special initiative that sheds light on diseases affecting our youth. And it connected a well-known company with two incredibly gracious families.

“You hear about these things every now and then but to be part of it and experience it is really special,” Matt Nilsen said. “We really feel honored for them to do this.”