27 year old Ryan Grant has been a running back for the Green Bay Packers since the 2007 season. Grant played college ball at Notre Dame, and began his professional career with the New York Giants in 2005. He has indeed been a standout for the Packers. In 2008, he broke two franchise records during their game against the Seattle Seahawks. But today Ryan Grant is a hero in eyes of many for a very different reason.
The running back is in the process of recuperating from ankle surgery. When he was checking his email one day, he became aware of an 11 year old boy in Wisconsin who is in the final stages in a fight with leukemia. Of course the young man is a hard core Packers fan. Grant decided to go to the extra mile for a boy suffering from a horrible disease.
He assembled all kinds of signed Packer memorabilia to share with young Ryan Luxem. And then he proceeded to spend 90 minutes of his time with the boy and his family. In reading the account of this event, I am not so sure which Ryan benefited more! But I am grateful for a professional football player who is willing to go the extra mile to brighten the life of a family facing an indescribable crisis.
Several thoughts came to mind as I read the account of this event in the online edition of the Milwaukee newspaper. I was reminded of the importance of using whatever we have been fortunate enough to receive to serve the most vulnerable among us. Ryan Grant is a talented professional football player! He has chosen to use those gifts to be kind to an 11 year old in a way that the young man’s family will never, ever forget. Grant has forced me to ask myself how I can use my own gifts and talents in a more compassionate manner.
It also occurred to me that credibility and a positive image are not things that can manufactured by a public relations firm. Tiger Woods was in the news again this week. His PR firm is trying to do improve his image, but the general public is not buying it. People sense a lack of sincerity on the part of Woods. Responding to a terminally ill 11 year old boy in a way that is obviously heartfelt captures builds credibility. I would think that there are some Green Bay Packer fans that are beaming with pride today. And they should… In fact, I count myself among them.
Ryan Grant is my hero for this Thanksgiving Day. I am grateful for his generosity and compassion. He has inspired me to do better. Let us take his take his cue and reach out to someone who could benefit from the talents we have been given. Thank you Ryan Grant for a great story of Thanksgiving!
The entire article is a must read! Here is the link: http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/110508534.html