Gopher punter goes deeper in raising money for hospitalized kids

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When the Golden Gophers went to a New Year's Day bowl game in Orlando a year ago, punter Peter Mortell chose to put his Citrus Bowl swag to use for others by donating his $452 Best Buy gift card to a children's hospital.

And while next week's trip to Detroit for the Quick Lane Bowl carries less prestige for the Gophers, hospitalized children will see a bigger benefit from Mortell and a host of other donors he's mobilized.

This time around, the senior from Green Bay organized a crowdfunding page to raise money and buy gifts for teenagers spending the holidays at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.

This is what happens when a community values giving a gift rather than receiving one. About $7000 worth of smiles coming to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's hospital...and we're just getting started! Please see the link in my bio and see how you can help!

A photo posted by Peter Mortell (@pmortell37) on Dec 21, 2015 at 12:12pm PST

Mortell set a fundraising goal of $10,000 that was reached within 12 hours, prompting him to revise the goal to $25,000. By Monday evening, the total was approaching $22,000.

Mortell says gifts donated to pediatric patients commonly go to young children, leading him to focus his effort on helping teenagers.

He also hopes to land a corporate sponsor to match donations.

The bowl game in Detroit next Monday will be Mortell's last game in a Gopher uniform. His career average of 43.9 yards per punt is the highest in Gopher football history.

When he was passed over for the punter of the year award, he gained some notoriety by proclaiming himself the "holder of the year."

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