After becoming friends with a young fan at a charity event for the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford ended up bidding on an auction package he had contributed tickets to in the first place.
During the Griese-Hutchinson-Woodson Champions for Children’s Hearts event, Mr. Stafford was seated with the family of Faith Falzone, a patient at Mott Children’s Hospital. Faith’s brother Will was starstruck.
“Right away Matt could tell that my son was a fan,” mom Mary Ann Bell wrote in a blog post. “He stuck his hand out and introduced himself. The next hour or so Will asked all kinds of questions: who do you like to throw the ball to the most, did you ever play other sports? At one point they were talking about candy.”
At some point during this conversation, Mr. Stafford asked Will which one auction item he would want most, if he could have it. Will told him he wished he could have the Monday Night Football package, a trip to Chicago for a Bears-Lions game, including tickets that had been donated by Mr. Stafford himself.
When the Monday Night Football package came up, Mr. Stafford started bidding. The auction host, former NFL linebacker and Michigan alum Dhani Jones, joked that Mr. Stafford couldn’t watch and play the game at the same time.
Ms. Bell wrote:
I assumed he was driving the price of the package up, all the money goes to Mott, I thought it was incredibly cool of him. As the bidding continued he wasn’t backing off…he was in it, he wanted to win that package, and had I known why, I’m certain, I would have been in tears. Somewhere in the $15k range, Matt Stafford was the owner of the MNF package, the crowd laughed, but moments later, that same crowd would be giving the Mott newcomer a standing ovation. As he won the package he turned to Will and said, there you go buddy, you go to Chicago, and take your family. The look on my sons face, I will never forget. His chin began to quiver, he was about to cry. He quickly jumped up and gave Matt a hug, and thanked him over and over again.
With a sister who spends most of her time in the hospital, Will misses out on a lot — including time with his mom, who usually stays at the hospital. Siblings of special needs kids are often unavoidably overlooked and have to mature before their time. There’s not a lot that parents can do about that. Ms. Bell writes that when she’s staying at the hospital, every night she cries after getting off the phone with her son.
Huge props to Matthew Stafford for giving not only to Mott Children’s Hospital, but to a family that couldn’t otherwise afford an amazing trip like this, and to a young boy who needs something to look forward to.
(via: The Detroit News)
(Photo Credit: Peter Martorano)
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto)