From the top: Gary Brackett with JD, Bob Sanders talking with JD, Justin Snow with JD, Peyton Manning with JD
These men- on their own time, free of press, free of payment, nothing in it for them, came to the hospital to make a boy's wish come true. When JD found out that his time left on earth was short, he had three things he wanted to do: be baptised, meet professional football players, and see lots and lots of people. Praise God- all of those were able to happen, and to the extreme.
The Indiana Wish Foundation and some other sources had arranged a day for JD and 10 guests to be limo-ed to the Colt's game, meet players, go into the family lounge, and have dinner at Ruth Chris Steakhouse. Devastatingly, however, JD was too sick to make it happen. He was ambulanced to the stadium, wheeled in on a wheelchair, put on a stretcher, and put back into the ambulance to be taken back to the hospital. His pain was tremendous that day, and it took the remainder of the day to get on top of it. The few minutes he was inside of Lucas Oil Stadium, though, the Colts staff was doing anything and everything they could think of to accommodate. I was extremely impressed.
Fast-forward to Monday, the day after the wish trip didn't happen. We caught wind that we may be getting some special visitors... JD hadn't been awake at all that day- none of us could get any reaction from him, but you better believe he shot right up when Gary Brackett walked in the room. And the look on his face when just a few hours later his all-time favorite Bob Sanders came strolling in... a memory I'll never forget. Let me tell you about this man, how he handled himself, the character we saw.. JD got so excited (and probably nervous too), that he tensed up...which sent him into incredible pain- screaming pain. They had to lower his bed completely flat, adjust his meds, the works. Bob asked if it was okay that he was still there, and once permission was received, he pulled the stool aside, sat down on the ground to be eye-level with JD, and continued to hold his hand and talk to him through his pain. He could've left, no questions asked, and no one would've blamed him... It is hard to see someone in pain like that, but he stayed. He stayed and comforted JD.
The next night, 7 full-course Ruth Chris dinners (along with dessert) were sent to the hospital for my family...from the Indianapolis Colts.
Justin Snow, the long-snapper for the Colts, came on numerous occassions to the hospital, and continues to communicate with the family. He came one day with the Colts chaplain. Justin sat in tears as the chaplain prayed, and then prayed himself for my little brother.
Jim and Meg Irsay and the Indianapolis Colts sent a giant horse-shoe shaped blue and white flower arrangement to be displayed at the viewing and funeral. Justin Snow and the chaplain came to the viewing. After JD's passing, my parents were able to go to a regular season game and into the family lounge afterwards, and then Jusin Snow got them tickets to the first round playoff game.
Sure, it may be 'just' a football game, but the people who make up this organiziation, the Indianapolis Colts, have touched my family in an incredible way. A team made of some of the most talented football players in the nation, yes, absolutely... but also a team made of men of character and full of heart- who gave more to this family than they could ever know.
Can I get a 'GO COLTS!!' anyone??
Superbowl champs 2010...here we come!