Peyton Manning, celebrity and athlete extraordinaire, showed the world a different side of himself when he flew a dying fan to a Broncos game earlier this month.
Kari Barnett Bollig is a 45-year-old woman who is dying of stage 4 breast cancer, which has spread throughout her bones and lungs. According to the Indiana Star, the cancer is so advanced that the fan does not have many treatment options. Kari says she does not know how long she has to live.
“There’s not a whole lot, they can slow it down, but there’s not a whole lot they can do.”
The Manning fan was not interested in working her way through a bucket list, as she feels she’s led a very full life, so the fan decided to write letters to people who had been instrumental in her life. This list encompasses friends, family, and teachers from her past who had an impact on her life. Peyton Manning is the only celebrity on the list.
“I have followed Peyton Manning forever, especially being an Indiana girl. I just thought, ‘Well shoot. I’m going to write him a letter and tell him how much he inspires me, not just because he’s a football player, but for what he does off the field.
“It was very personal. It was very heartfelt and I never thought anything of it other than I wrote it and sent it. I didn’t even know he would get it.”
Not only did Manning receive the letter, but he was so touched he wanted to meet her. He flew the dying fan and her husband to the Broncos game at Mile High Stadium in Denver for two days, complete with tickets to the Broncos vs. Ravens game, sideline passes, a tour of the stadium, as well as the chance to take photos and watch the team practice.
CBS Sports reports Manning was very personal with the fan, and Kari was impressed with his greeting.
“He walked right over after he got his picture taken. It was so sweet because he shakes my hand and says, ‘I’m Peyton Manning.’ It was cute. It was kind of like, ‘I know who you are, Peyton.'”
Deeply touched by the dying fan, Peyton told her to keep on fighting.
“I’ll be praying for you,” he said.
Some celebrities are great for what they do on camera, and some, like Peyton, are great for who they are. The dying fan he flew to the Broncos game clearly loves him for both reasons.
[Image credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]