Community Rallies To Send Teen Battling Cancer To Super Bowl
When they found out it was his dream to go to the game, they made it happen.
Out of the 62,417 sports fans that attended Super Bowl LIV in Miami, FL, Will Walker just might have been the most excited person in the stands.
The 14-year-old from Savannah, MI was there to see his beloved Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers, a reality that was a farfetched dream just a few months ago.
In September 2014, Walker was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that affects the soft tissues that surround the body's bones and organs. As a result, he lost part of his left arm. He recently found out the cancer is spreading rapidly, and chemo isn't helping.
Even though Walker's health diagnosis is bleak, it hasn't seemed to affect his attitude. In fact, his friends say he's the most positive, upbeat person they know.
"He is the happiest person that I've ever met," Rhyan Schrick, a classmate at Savannah Middle School, told KQ2-TV. "And I tell everyone that even with everything that he's going through."
When the Chiefs cinched their spot in the Super Bowl, Walker knew it was a long shot, but he put it out to the universe that it was his biggest dream to be there and cheer them on.
That's when a non-profit called Fighting All Monsters (FAM) stepped in and set up a fundraiser on Facebook to help send Will to the big game. In just 10 days, the organization raised over $26,000 – but the generosity doesn't stop there.
When the Central Bank of the Midwest (one of the Kansas City Chief's biggest partners) found out about Walker's fundraiser, they decided to give him the tickets as a gift.
The school got in on the surprise and organized a pep rally. During the rally, Walker was led from the stands by the Kansas City Chief's mascot to the center of the gymnasium, where he was presented with two tickets to the Super Bowl.
As the entire school erupted in cheers, Walker beamed as he posed for photos with his mom, who would be going with him to the game.
"There were probably 600 kids cheering," Will Carter, the bank's marketing manager, said. "It just blew us backwards there was so much excitement in the auditorium. It was a really awesome moment."
"My heart was pumping," the teen added. "I'm really excited."
Thanks to the Central Bank's gift and the money from the fundraiser, Walker and his mom were able to pay for the medical and travel expenses necessary to make the trip.
Not only did Walker's dream come true, he got to see his favorite team with the Super Bowl – all because his community cared enough to make it happen.
Now that's a story to smile about – even if you're a 49ers fan.