This weekend our family teamed up with Coach to Cure MD to Tackle Dunchenne. This organization partners with football teams around the country to raise funding for research and awareness for Duchnene Muscular Dystrophy.
Our family was asked to visit The Flames at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and we received much more than expected by this fine school and the men that make up their football team. We were welcomed by Heath; our tour guide and was promptly escorted through the doors and into the arms of 2 camera men and their news reporter. I had not expected a news crew but was quickly jerked to reality when asked for an interview.
We were introduced to Coach Gill (who happens to be a pretty famous player himself) and many of his staff. Westley was given the GRAND tour by Heath and Coach D! I don’t know a lot about athletic departments but even my uneducated eye knew this place was top notch. We saw the locker rooms; which Wyatt said smelled like his socks, the equipment room; where they got to wear real helmets (which he later told the owner of said helmet that is stank), the weight room and the finest club seats I have ever experienced. As wonderful as the tour was the afternoon only got better.
Westley was asked to come onto the field where he was presented with his own jersey; including his favorite number (444) and name. They told him he’s the only 3 digit # ever in Liberty history. After a few words the entire team circled around Westley to pray over him. It was extremely touching and I had to hold back tears. Both boys were invited to ride the bus to dinner with the team while we followed behind in the van. By the time we had arrived the boys looked like they were one of the team. I think Wyatt even slept in his Liberty ball cap that night.
We were treated to a big dinner; you know those boys need to carb load before a big game. After dinner and 2 very full children chapel was held. We were invited to stay and were blessed by the message. Put God 1st; Family 2nd and Football 3rd. If you do this God will bless you. At the end Dr. Gomes prayed for Westley and our family and Westley was presented with a poster signed by all the players. Every single player stayed behind to shake Westley’s hand.
I wish I could express in words the love and kindness we all felt from these men of God. The afternoon with them was heaven sent. We were there to thank them for participated in Coach to Cure MD but I think we all; our family, coaches and players were inspired and encouraged by one another. It was Divine Intervention that we were sent to Liberty that day. Coach Gill and those boys will forever be in our prayers.
The 1st play of Saturday’s game was dedicated to Westley. The Flames scored a touchdown right out of the gates and went on to win against Kentucky Wesleyan 73-7!!!! We hear that first play may even be renamed 444.
So I know this post is already long but I need to share one last thing. Near the end the evening Westley told me and Dr. Gomes “I have so much to say to the guys but I don’t have the words in my mouth. They are in my heart.” We sat down last night and tried to put those words on paper. Below is from Westley’s heart with no prompting from me.
“The football players were really generous and nice. I was actually happy to be with somebody who understands what I have and treated me right. I really haven’t been on a football field before. I really had a fun time with the football players. I was thankful Coach Gill game me the hat and jersey and that was special to me.
I loved the football dinner! It was really big and good. I had way too much of the chocolate milk at dinner!
The poster that the football players signed is on my wall right now. I like it and one day I am going to show it to my cousin because he likes football a lot. After church was done one of the football players gave us $8 for Coach to Cure. That was really nice of him to give us $8. That was generous of him.
I shook a lot of football player’s hands and it was tireding! Thank you for showing me such kindness and understanding for what I have.
Good job on your game!”