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The heartwarming story behind Garth Brooks' Phoenix connection.
A few years ago after moving from Chicago to Phoenix , Mike Beninato flew to Vegas where Garth Brooks was performing. Mike’s wife Wendy Beninato recalls how he wanted to convince Garth to perform gratis to raise funds for Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Although the Beninato’s triplets were born premature in a Chicago area hospital, they wanted to give back to their new community.
“When our triplets were born at only 28 weeks at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, Illinois, they were there for two months and we were so grateful for the care we received, “ says Wendy. “So when we moved to Phoenix, we wanted to help give back to children who were less fortunate here.”
(Garth and Mike Beninato in Las Vegas taken on Mike's cell phone)
Mike’s tenacity paid off - and the famous country star agreed to a Phoenix benefit concert to open a Child Life Zone at the hospital. Mike’s intention was to dedicate the concert to his brother Sonny Beninato, who had passed away in 2009. The Child Life Zone is part of the Teammates for Kids Foundation, which is Garth Brooks’ charity. The Zone is one of several around the country where children in the hospital to get away from medical realities.
Sadly, Mike died unexpectedly. A shock to all, the emotional weight of his untimely loss and raising 7-year old triplets was difficult for Wendy. But she says, with the help of great friends, they got the fundraiser back on track. Garth performed for a crowd of 200 at Michael Dominick’s Steakhouse. The gala evening was dedicated to Mike Beninato’s memory.
Garth and the Beninato triplets, and Wendy Beninato
Prior to the dinner and concert, Garth visited the hospital that day for the opening of the play area. The 3,800 square-foot room features spaces for relaxing, playing, and learning, as well as a multimedia studio where kids can produce their own shows.
Garth and Wendy Beninato
By the way, it’s so heartwarming that when the Beninato triplets turned 7 -years old- they asked friends and family to donate to “daddy’s dream” in lieu of toys or other presents. Michael, Isabella and Luciano Beninato proudly raised $4, 485 for the Child Kid Zone.