In October, in an Arizona hotel lobby, Ty told Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher all about his travels. Instead of looking for the nearest elevator, Urlacher listened for 10 minutes. As the Kesslers were heading out to the parking lot, a man stopped them and handed Bob his business card. It read, GEORGE MCCASKEY, director of TICKET OPERATIONS, CHICAGO BEARS. Three weeks after that, as a guest of the Bears, Ty had a front row seat at Soldier Field for a game against Miami. When Dolphins receiver Marty Booker caught a touchdown pass, he beelined for the boy in the BETHLEHEM CATHOLIC sweatshirt. "I froze," says Ty. Booker flipped him the football. The two have never met.
Like the President with his nuclear one, Ty always travels with his own football, which John Elway happily signed for him in Denver. And two Saturdays ago in San Francisco, Ty was summoned to a hotel conference room, where Brett Favre was waiting to meet him. "Amazing," says Ty.
This Christmas night, on his 16th birthday, the boy from Bethlehem won't be under a star. The star will be under him. Ty will step onto the field at Texas Stadium—his 32nd and final NFL venue—as the guest of Dallas owner Jerry Jones.
"For a long time," says Bob, "I worried that Tyler's only childhood memories would be of doctors and hospitals." Instead, Ty is thriving—his cancer is in remission, and 18 months ago he got a healthy new kidney. From his dad.
Ty is a mirror, reflecting the fundamental decency of people. "Everyone has been very kind," he wants me to tell you. "I don't know how to say thank you enough."
I hope you like your gift, America. You're getting a Ty for Christmas.
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