Drew Brees Plays Super Bowl for New Orleans and Children with Cancer
In today’s Super Bowl pre-game specials, ESPN presented a moving story about New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his top fan Micah Roshell, who is battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Micah’s mother Valetta recalls a day in January where Brees and his then-pregnant wife Brittany visited Micah’s hospital room at a request from the young boy who wished to see his hero. Micah had just been given the difficult news that he may be losing his battle with the disease and made the request through BreesDream, the quarterback’s foundation to help children with cancer and also to upgrade schools and playing fields for post-Katrina challenged youth.
“Micah woke up and started talking to Drew,” Val says. “They began to play the Wii games. The two of them were inseparable.” After the first playoff win against the Arizona Cardinals, Drew presented Micah with the game ball he was holding as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system that is marked by the presence of a certain type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 8,510 new cases of Hodgkin were diagnosed in 2009 and there were almost 1300 deaths. There have been advances recently in both diagnosis and treatment of the disease that have helped to improve the prognosis for patients.
Brees says, “Sometimes the best treatment for some of these kids is not the medicine. It’s the ability to put a smile on their face, to give them hope in a different way.” Dr. Gregory Stewart, medical director at Tulane-Lakeside Hospital in Metairie, said it is clear to him that the morale boost the Saints have given to the New Orleans region is magnified in hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.
The Brees Dream Foundation was founded in 2003 with a mission to advance research in the fight against cancer and provide care, education, and opportunities for children in need. Since its inception, it has committed more than $4,500,000 to charitable causes and academic institutions in New Orleans, San Diego (where Drew played with the Chargers), and West Lafayette/Purdue communities. The most recent program – the sale of official FINISH STRONG New Orleans Saints t-shirts, has raised close to $200,000.
Micah Roshell has undergone a second bone marrow transplant in January. Recent tests have shown a great improvement with no remaining malignant cells. He will be firmly in place in his hospital room to watch his hero play today’s Super Bowl. Micah sent Drew a message in Miami – “I’ve won my battle. Now you go win yours.”
Brees Dream Foundation
c/o Judy Hogan
1360 East 9th Street, Suite 100
Cleveland, OH 44114