Atlanta — As 11-year-old Lucky Kelley walked onto the Super Bowl field at Mercedes-Benz stadium, he was in disbelief. Brian Barrios, a 19-year-old Rams fan, was just as amazed as 18-year-old Gunter Garvin.
“I’ve never felt so small before,” Garvin said.
All three share more than a love of football. Barrios has Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Garvin has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and Kelley has half a heart. All three critically ill patients had the same wish: Super Bowl tickets.
In all, the Make-A-Wish Foundation gave 16 young patients tickets and an all-access stadium tour, including of players’ locker rooms.
They relate to a sport where players get knocked down and have to get back up.
“They have to keep going on no matter what because the goal is to win that trophy. So my goal is to get back up from this disease,” Barrios said.
“Just trying to find a spot to fit in, I guess that in life, life is so big and there’s so much that can happen,” Garvin said.
Kelley has already had three open heart surgeries.
“When the people get tackled, and hurt, and they have to be out for the season or something like that, it kind of relates to me because I got injured,” he said.
Ahead of the game, a Rams fan played catch with a Patriots fan, and that was a Super Bowl dream.
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