This is an unlikely story for me, but one that I felt compelled to write. Today, I received the tragic news that tomorrow I will say goodbye to my favorite Miami Hurricanes fan (and brother in law, John), who suffered a freak accident one week ago. The best way I can think of to honor him is to share a story about his favorite team and some lessons that came out of their game today.
Earlier today, the Miami Hurricanes cruised to a 55-34 victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats…a game that John surely would have been at if he could. There was a less likely known story going on behind the scenes of that game, that offered many life lessons and ones that John would have surely wanted to pass along.
At that game was Carter Hucks, an 8-year-old boy who has Fanconi Anemia, a rare disorder that leads to cancer and bone marrow failure in most patients. How did he get there? Well, Hucks had dreamed of meeting his favorite player, Duke Johnson. The Make-A-Wish-Foundation helped make that dream come true. In fact, after spending several days with the team, they made him an honorary team member before he got to lead the team out of the tunnel and onto the field.
And how did his favorite player do? Well, he scored on an 80 yard run and then gave the game ball to Hucks, just as he promised he’d do if he scored a touchdown.
In a story posted on Fox Sports Florida, Carter’s father stated “I think it’s been awesome because it’s always been a dream of Carter’s, and the university did a great job of actually experiencing the whole of what it’s like to be a Hurricane,” his mother, Jessie, said. “He got wrapped up, he got to practice, he got to see the weight room, he got to lift weights. It’s been so great for him to really experience what it’s like to be a Hurricane all the way up to gameday. We’re so appreciate of everything they’ve done for us.”
See the Fox Video here: http://www.foxsports.com/video?vid=340212291976
And Carter’s response – “Being a Hurricane is fun.”
Carter, his family and the Miami Hurricanes players all seemed to get many lessons out of the experience.
Senior wideout Phillip Dorsette said “He’s just a kid with a lot of energy and just wants to live life to the fullest right now.”
Head coach Al Golden added: “It humbles you, it brings you back to reality…”
Carter’s mother responded by saying “One thing Carter has definitely taught both of us through this whole year that we’ve been dealing with this stuff is to not let things knock you down.” While his father added “…’Don’t take anything for granted.'”
While it’s hard to find words to express the sadness that I feel, I can’t help but think that John would want his family and friends to follow the advice above and live life to the fullest right now and don’t take anything for granted.
On a personal note, I want to say Thank U for being one of the first to welcome me to the family, for always making me feel welcome at your house, the trips and taking care of my family and being there in for me in my times of crisis. U will be greatly missed. Thank U, John…words can’t express my gratitude for you.