Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is receiving quite a bit of praise this week over a surprise gift he gave to a little boy over the weekend.
Stafford attended a Mott Children's Hospital fundraiser this weekend with his girlfriend Kelly, where they heard the story of a family with a very sick little girl named Faith. Faith's older brother, Will, is a huge Lions fan and was happy just to meet Stafford, but then the young athlete did one better: he placed a $15,000 bid on his own Monday Night Football package and then gave it to Will and his family.
Often, the siblings of sick children get overlooked even though they are dealing with the illness just as the rest of the family is, and Will is a shining example of a good big brother. His mother, who writes the blog MyFaith'sJourney, wrote that he is incredibly selfless and kind, and never complains about the enormous changes the family has faced since his sister became sick and his parents divorced.
"We used to have a really nice car, a new Expedition," she writes. "Now I drive a car that is ten years older than he is, and it has no TV…and it looks like a car a grandma would be driving....one day his friend asked why his mom was driving that old ugly car. Will replied, 'Because I loved it, so she traded our other car for it.' When he got in the car he apologized on behalf of his friend, and said, 'I am just thankful we have a car'.
While at the auction, which benefitted the hospital Faith attends, Will spoke to Stafford for over an hour, and the quarterback engaged him with ease, asking him to point out which item on the auction block he'd choose if he could have one thing. Will pointed to a prize package that included tickets to see the Lions play the Bears during Monday Night Football. After bidding on the package feverishly, driving the price up, Stafford happily forked over his fifteen grand and handed the prize to Will, who could barely contain tears of joy.
Will's mother is separated from him most of the time, staying with Faith at the hospital, and is forced to communicate with him mostly over the phone. She says it hurts her heart to be away from him, to hear the sadness in his voice at the end of the day. But that night was different.
"When we got off the phone, I didn’t need to hide in the bathroom, I didn’t even want to cry," she writes. "I went to sleep thinking about how happy my son was...it’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that. So as football season comes along, and you see #9 from the Detroit Lions take the field remember, your looking at a superstar athlete…from the inside out."