It has been an emotional week for 11-year-old Katie and her family. She’s recovering from surgery after doctors at Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children found a tumor on her thoracic spine.
But on her last day at the hospital in Wilmington, Katie couldn’t stop smiling after meeting Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle and Super Bowl Champion Fletcher Cox.
“My dad grew up in Pennsylvania, and he always said you should root for your home team,” said Katie, who wants to give the autograph to her dad. “It was really cool to meet (Cox), it feels like you’re meeting someone famous.”
Cox visited dozens of young patients at the children’s hospital Monday, signing footballs, jerseys and photos. He and Concordville Subaru donated $1,625 to the hospital, after raising $250 per sack during the Eagles’ season.
Cox fought back tears as he described his experience meeting the children.
“Being here today hurt me deep. Just watching some of the kids walk in here, and just thinking about the life I live. I’m not perfect, but I’m able to get up, and walk every day and do what I want to do. To see parents come in and see the looks on some of the kids’ faces it really hurt my heart,” he said.
“Being able to come back and see kids that don’t live a normal life every day, to see the smiles on their faces, you gotta realize the game of football is way bigger than I am and you get a chance to see that today.”
Katie’s mother Jill Cook said there’s no word to describe how it feels to see the joy on her daughter’s face.
“Meeting Fletcher put the icing and cherry and everything on top of that sundae and made her day,” she said. “We’ve been through so much this week to see that smile on her face again — it feels pretty good.”