Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditSaturday, April 17, 2021

Articles tagged: heartwarming stories

Here’s how much Bills Mafia has raised for Lamar Jackson’s favorite charity

Lamar Jackson

Buffalo Bills fans decided to start donating to Lamar Jackson’s favorite charity after the Baltimore Ravens star left last week’s playoff game with an injury, and they have not stopped.

Following their team’s 17-3 win over the Ravens, Bills fans — better known as Bills Mafia — launched a campaign on social media to flood Jackson’s favorite charity with donations. The charity, Blessings in a Backpack, provides free food for children to eat on the weekends. As of Wednesday, nearly $450,000 had been donated on Jackson’s behalf.

Jackson issued a statement through Blessings in a Backpack thanking Bills Mafia.

Bills fans may be best known for their wild tailgate antics, but this is not the first time they have turned their unrivaled passion into a fundraising effort. They did the same earlier this year to honor Josh Allen’s late grandmother, and the quarterback was at a loss for words. They also donated to Andy Dalton’s charity after Dalton helped Buffalo get into the postseason a few years ago.

Bills Mafia is clearly about more than just jumping through flaming tables, and Jackson is grateful for that.

Video: Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks make teenage fan Selena Urban’s dream come true

Selena Urban Sharks

These videos are the absolute best.

On Friday, the San Jose Sharks held their team photo day and used it as an opportunity to help make a young fan’s dream come true.

The team’s “Sharks Care” charity worked with Bay Area Make-A-Wish to have 16-year-old kidney transplant patient Selena Urban spend part of the day with the team. This video shows Sharks veteran Joe Thornton inviting the emotional Urban to come be a part of the team photo. Her reaction was wonderful.

Urban and her parents got to watch the team practice and she even spent time chatting with some of the players. She capped off the day with a ride on the Zamboni, and a shopping spree in the team store, according to the Mercury News.

Thorton is also picking up Urban before the Sharks’ game on Saturday, at which she will be dropping the ceremonial puck. What a weekend for Urban to remember!

Video: Jackson State manager Thomas ‘Snacks’ Lee steals show in final home game

The NCAA Tournament is still two weeks from tipping off, but the best moment from March Madness may already be in the books.

Jackson State held its final home game of the season on Monday night, and the Tigers sent their seniors off with a 76-56 victory over UAPB. One of those seniors was student manager Thomas “Snacks” Lee, who had never appeared in a game during his college career prior to Monday. Jackson State head coach Wayne Brent gave Lee a jersey for his final home game, and Tigers fans began chanting “We want Snacks!” late in the game. With two minutes remaining and Jackson State up big, Brent called Lee’s number.

Lee missed his first three shots from three-point range, but he finally buried one from way beyond the arc with 35 seconds on the clock. The crowd went nuts.

Can it get any better than a student manager called “Snacks” drilling a three-pointer in the first and only game of his college career? That’s right up there with some of our best feel-good stories from throughout the years.

Touching video: Carey Price meets fan whose mother died of cancer

Carey Price

A touching video of Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price meeting with a fan is going viral, and once you see it, you’ll understand why.

A woman named Tammy Whitehead shared video on her Facebook page over the weekend that shows her nephew meeting Price, whom she describes as the youngster’s “idol.” Not only did Price give 11-year-old Anderson Whitehead some cool memorabilia, but he insisted on giving the young boy a hug. Take a look.

Here’s what Tammy wrote in the caption:

“I wanted to share this video of my nephew Anderson, meeting his idol, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens. Last year as Anderson’s mom was dying of cancer she promised she would do everything she could to make his dream come true. Unfortunately, she passed away before that could happen but through some very kind and generous friends we were able to arrange a visit to the morning skate. As you can see in the video, Carey Price was a class act not only giving Anderson two signed sticks, a signed puck, signing his jersey and mini stick but he also gave him the biggest hug. Words cannot describe how much this meant to Anderson and we are forever grateful to this wonderful man.”

According to CTV, the encounter took place on Saturday at a morning skate before the Canadiens took on the Maple Leafs later that day.

Price may be known for being a Vezina and Hart Trophy winner, but this video shows he is much more than just that.

One-armed baseball catcher Luke Terry will blow your mind

If you watched Luke Terry playing baseball from a distance, you may not even notice that there is something a bit special about the way he swings a bat or throws the ball back to the pitcher while he’s behind the plate. Somehow, Terry finds a way to keep up with his peers despite only having one arm.

Over the weekend, a video of Terry catching for his high school team in Tennessee went viral. When you see the incredible way he gets the ball back to the mound and around the diamond, you’ll understand why.

As Tony Kreager of The Tennesseean noted in a feature last year, Terry had his right arm amputated after he contracted E. coli when he was 19 months old. His mother, Dana Terry, says Luke flatlined on the operating table three times.

“I don’t even think about it,” Luke Terry said of only having one arm. “Fans tell me, ‘You’re an inspiration.’ They want me to go a long ways.”

Luke’s coaches and teammates say he is one of the best and most competitive players they have been around. It’s clear his place on the team has nothing to do with the fact that he is missing his right arm. Considering what one of the top prospects in the NFL Draft has accomplished despite having a similar condition, the future for Terry looks plenty bright.

Mexican skier German Madrazo overwhelmed with joy after last-place finish

German Madrazo finished dead last in the men’s 15km free cross-country skiing event on Thursday, and coming in 115th place was everything the 43-year-old Mexican could have asked for and more.

After all, it was only a year ago that Madrazo learned how to ski. As Casey Gutting of Yahoo Sports highlighted, Madrazo is an Ironman triathlete from Texas who co-founded the Valley Running Company Club training facility. He became interested in cross-country skiing after reading a magazine article about Peruvian cross-country skier Roberto Carcelan. That inspired Madrazo to start an independent training group along with Chilean skier Yonathan Fernandez and Tongan skier Pita Taufatofua with a goal of qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics, and he accomplished that goal.

On Thursday, Madrazo finished 115th out of 115 cross-country skiers. He was all smiles as he crossed the finish line — more than 25 minutes after the gold medalist — waving the Mexican flag.

For many athletes, anything less than an Olympic medal is a crushing disappointment. But for every fierce competitor who wants to be the best, there are people like Madrazo who just want to cross the finish line. That’s what the Olympics are all about.

Rod Carew got heart transplant from former NFL TE Konrad Reuland

Rod Carew

Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew is fortunate to be alive after facing a number of health challenges over the past year-plus, but he is doing well because of a heart transplant he received back in December. Believe it or not, the heart that is currently keeping Carew alive once belonged to a fellow former professional athlete.

Konrad Reuland, an ex-NFL tight end who was just 29 when he died of a brain aneurysm on Dec. 12, had previously made the decision to be an organ donor. As it turned out, Carew was at the top of the donor list after he suffered a massive heart attack in 2015.

In a heartwarming feature that was published on the Baltimore Ravens’ website, Carew spoke about getting the opportunity to meet Reuland’s mother.

Mary and Ralf had no idea how they would react to the emotions of the meeting. They were less than three months removed from losing their oldest child, and they knew the encounter would be raw. But when Mary first saw Rod outside her home, she greeted him warmly with a big hug and said, “You’re part of our family now.”

“Forever,” Rod replied. “I will take care of this one because I’ve been given a second chance, and God knows how I feel and what I’m going to do for him.”

As the families shared hugs and tears, Mary was reminded of what she told the doctors before leaving Konrad’s hospital room for the last time: Whoever gets his heart better deserve it.

“We lost a wonderful man, so it had to go into a wonderful person,” Mary told Rod. “I couldn’t be happier that it went to such a wonderful man.”

Carew’s heart attack was described as a “widow maker,” and doctors say he basically cheated death. The 1977 A.L. MVP being in position to receive a new heart after a tragic death is the circle of life at its best.

High school runner disqualified for helping sick opponent cross finish line

liana-blomgren

A high school runner was disqualified from her final cross country race as a senior this week for breaking the rules, and that is something she should take great pride in.

Gracie Bucher, an 8th grader from Windom, Minn., was near the finish line at a section cross country race recently when she basically lost control of her body. As Bucher’s legs felt heavy and she struggled to breathe, those watching the race continuously warned other runners that they “can’t touch her” while Gracie fell to the ground numerous times. Under the rules of the Minnesota State High School League, any runner physically assisting another runner results in a disqualification for both.

Liana Blomgren, a 12th grader from Mountain Lake High School, was very familiar with the rules. She didn’t care about the consequences.

“I knew she wasn’t going to get to the finish line by herself and I knew that she needed somebody and nobody else was there for her,” Blomgren told Boyd Huppert of KARE.

Blomgren helped Bucher off the ground and supported her as they both crossed the finish line. Rules, as they say, are rules, and both runners were disqualified. But the gesture could not have been more admirable.

“She was definitely a miracle for me,” Bucher said. “There’s nothing better than that. She was like my angel that day. Knowing that she would do that, especially her senior year in her last race, it just means everything.”

Bucher was later taken to the emergency room and diagnosed with mononucleosis, which explains why she essentially had no energy. She brought Blomgren flowers and a Dairy Queen gift card at Liana’s school the following day.

“I DQ’d her,” Bucher joked. “I figure I better do it again.”

Because of incidents like the one between Bucher and Blomgren, the Minnesota State High School League is among several high school athletic organizations to adopt a new rule starting in 2017 that will allow runners to assist other competitors without penalty as long as a medical care provider is not present.

“I don’t remember what place I was in the section meet last year. I don’t remember what place I was in the section meet the year before that,” Blomgren said. “But I know I’m going to remember this.”

We have seen similar acts of kindness in the past (here’s another great example), and they never get old. Well done, Liana.

Patriots LB Darius Fleming needed 22 stitches after saving woman from burning car

Darius-Fleming

New England Patriots linebacker Darius Fleming played in last Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs with 22 stitches in his leg, He sustained the injury while saving a woman from a burning vehicle.

St. Rita High School in Chicago, Fleming’s alma mater, released a statement Tuesday night praising the 26-year-old for kicking through a car window to help save a woman who was trapped inside.

As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes, the accident involved three cars and took place outside Gillette Stadium on Thursday night. Fleming kicked a window out when he noticed the car smoking and suffered a gash on his leg.

“She was attempting to kick the window out but she was a small lady,” Fleming recalled. “I didn’t panic, but I was just like, ‘I got to get her out.’ I tried to break (the window) with my elbow, but that didn’t work, so I just started kicking the window. Eventually it broke, pulled her out, made sure she was OK, and I looked at my leg and I noticed it was bleeding pretty bad.”

We hear plenty of stories about idiotic things players do off the field, and one of the most recent also came from Foxboro. Fleming deserves all the credit in the world for what he did. He brushed his own health aside to save another person.

Photo: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Kris Silbaugh, born without left hand, sets high school receiving record

A Pennsylvania high schooler who only has one hand has been dominating the gridiron over the last four years. You’ll never guess what his primary position is.

Kris Silbaugh, who was born without a left hand, recently broke the Cambridge Springs High School record for receiving yards. According to ESPN.com, he is just a few catches away from setting the school record for receptions, as well.

Kevin-Silbaugh

Silbaugh catches seemingly everything that comes his way, and that includes when he plays defensive back in addition to receiver. In the offseason, he plays basketball and volleyball. A custom glove Silbaugh wears on his left arm helps him cushion passes and trap the ball against his body.

“Ever since I was younger, I wanted to be a wide receiver,” Silbaugh told The Erie Times-News a year ago. “I figured I was fast enough to get by defenders and I could catch pretty well. Since I was born without a left hand, I grew up learning to do everything with one hand. It’s pretty easy to adjust to everything.”

We have seen athletes overcome some amazing obstacles to excel in their sports, and Silbaugh’s story is certainly one of the most inspiring. You’d never know he was born with a disability by watching him play football.