The Devils' Advocate

5 Athletes That Make A Difference

Brett Thackston, Reporter

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People are sports fans for a variety of reasons: team loyalty, the excitement of the game, and athleticism at its best. The fire athletes give fans another reason to cheer: their good deeds.

1) David Ortiz

What an exciting day this was for Stephan. But as exciting as it was for him, it was also overwhelming to see him so excited and happy.

The Red Sox and David Ortiz went completely out of their way to make Stephan feel like he won the World Series. They took him on a tour of the locker room and the Green Monster and he met so many players and coaches. Everyone made it a point to come and share this special day with him including Theo Epstein, Julio Lugo, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett, Terry Francona and so many more. They made him feel like a million bucks and to this day he still grins from ear to ear when he thinks about it or talks about the day.

Two moments truly stick out though. The first is when Stephan was able to go into the locker room and see a locker with his name on it and with a uniform in it for him. That was an unbelievable moment for him as a young fan.

2) Carson Wentz

 

Quarterback Carson Wentz was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles within days of 8-year-old Lukas Kusters being diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Lukas was a football player himself. He played with his brothers in the front yard of their home in Wilmington, Delaware, before joining a league at age 6. The savagery of his spirit and style of play earned Lukas a nickname — the Dutch Destroyer. As much as Lukas loved playing football, he also loved watching the Eagles. When doctors ordered a year of chemotherapy and radiation to treat Lukas’ cancer, his family decorated his hospital room in green and white and hung Wentz’s Eagles and North Dakota State jerseys on the walls.

A radiation technician who worked on Lukas’ case reached out to the Eagles to tell them his story. Not long after, a bunch of Eagles swag was delivered to his hospital room, along with a video message from Wentz. When Lukas got the chance to meet Wentz, he gave him a special bracelet saying, “Dutch Destroyer”. Wentz never takes it off because of the impact and motivation it has on him. Carson Wentz stated, “It is not just a rubber bracelet. That’s a little boy’s dream, right there.”

3) New Orleans Saints 

 

 

Jarrius “JJ” Robertson is by far the biggest Saints fan in the world. He is one of the most outgoing, joyful kids you could ever see. A lot of his videos have went viral from dancing with Saints players such as, Mark Ingram, Cameron Jordan, etc. But after watching all these videos of him being happy, little do you know how much he’s been through in a 15 year span. Robertson battles biliary atresia — a chronic liver disease that affects his physical growth. He has been in and out of hospitals since receiving a liver transplant when he was 1. At one point, he was in a coma for an entire year. In 2016, Jarrius, who signed a “contract” on “Good Morning America” to become an official “hype man” for the Saints, has become a larger-than-life figure around the team, handing out an award on the NFL Honors awards show with the Saints Head Coach, Sean Payton. On July 12th, 2017, Jarrius received the ESPN Jimmy V Award for perseverance. He is the meaning of what never giving up is all about.

4) Cam Newton

Despite all the criticism that Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton, gets for dabbing on the field, smiling, and just having fun overall, that never draws him away from always being positive away from the bright lights of an NFL arena. During Thanksgiving, Newton was able to grant a wish for 11-year old Noah, who was born with Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome. He visits hospitals on a regular basis, which his mother says brings him down at times. But through Make-A-Wish, little Noah got the chance of a lifetime to travel to Charlotte. He and a group of friends played on the Bank of America Stadium field. And when they went bowling, Cam Newton himself showed up. Noah was definitely nervous meeting his hero, but that went away quickly as Cam chanted Noah’s name while the 11-year old bowled. This is a moment that Noah will never forget. Noah stated, “Whenever I’m down, I can think of my time with Cam, and how special of a moment that was for me.”

5) Mike Trout

 

Eight days after eye surgery, eight-year-old Thomas Walkup spends some time with his favorite baseball player, Mike Trout. For his whole life, Thomas hadn’t been able to see clearly at all. The 8-year-old — who is from Millville, N.J., the same town as Trout — had a condition called congenital nystagmus, or “dancing eyes.” He couldn’t keep his eyes fixed on anything, so everything was blurred. But on Aug. 13, Thomas had successful surgery in California to correct his vision, with the one doctor in the world who performs it, Dr. Robert Lingua of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute. Thanks to a coordinated effort with the Millville community, Trout and the Angels — who were informed of Thomas’ situation by Trout’s mom, Debbie — Thomas, his mother Susan Banks and their family were brought out to an Angels game. Thomas confidently said that he’d rather see Mike Trout than have the eye surgery, but luckily Thomas got both wishes.

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5 Athletes That Make A Difference