Recently, an episode of the Crazy Good Turns podcast featured a boy who was diagnosed with leukemia at age 4. The prognosis isn’t good. It’s a rare form of the disease, and will require a transplant to beat. And it’s going to take awhile to find the right donor.
A Game Changer
The treatments take a toll on the boy. They’re demanding physically and draining mentally and spiritually. Each day is a fight. Except for that one day: The day of the Senior Bowl.
“That Was Just the Best Day”
“Every year, this time of year, he says, ‘Oh man, that was just the best day,” says the boy’s father, Terry Davis. “Because he hadn’t had a whole lot of great days up until that point – most of them had been spent in hospitals and doctor’s offices.”
But the Senior Bowl was different. That day the boy, whose name is Taylor, got to walk side-by-side with some of the biggest names in college football. Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott, who at the time was a senior from Mississippi State, befriended the boy. Taylor stood before a crowd of tens of thousands and heard all of those fans cheer him on. And he got to meet many of his heroes from the University of Alabama – a dream come true for the young man.
“’Roll Tide’ were some of the first words to come out of his mouth,” recalls Davis, who resides in Mobile, Alabama.
Davis goes on to recount how, during the course of their experience at that game, his son stood taller, smiled brighter, and finally got to feel what every kid deserves: joy.
Special Spectators Program
That joy was made possible by an organization called Special Spectators. It’s a nonprofit organization that gives sick children like Taylor a VIP sports experience like no other. Last season, the organization partnered with 38 Division I schools and brought smiles to hundreds of sick kids.
When talking about Special Spectators, Danny Wuerffel, 1996 Heisman Trophy winner, says “The idea of getting people together who are different, have different beliefs and political outlooks, all coming together to work together toward a common goal is an incredibly beautiful thing,” Wuerffel said. “The beauty of football is to see that happen.”
“Kids really love sports because they provide a release for them — a way to not think about everything that they’re going through, their illness, and the impact on their families,” says Special Spectators founder Blake Rockwell. “That’s why I think sports are such a key thing for kids, and especially kids who are battling a life-threatening illness.”
Crazy Good Turns Podcast Features Special Spectators, Feb. 2018,