Three-year old Bryan Maenner, who was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer 18 months ago, is a boy who loves the Philadelphia Eagles and who has always wanted to see them play at Lincoln Financial Field. And thanks to Gayle, the mother of Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson, Bryan’s dream came true.
And with the Eagles going on a road trip that won’t bring them back to the Linc until October 20, it is quite possible this was Maenner’s last chance to see the team play before the cancer heartbreakingly takes his life. The three-year old’s parents and twin brother Brandon were informed three weeks ago that after months of chemo and radiation, there is nothing more they can do.
To outlive your child is something no parent wants, but to actually watch that child die and know there is nothing they can do about it brings unspeakable pain. As Richard Maenner, Bryan’s father told NBC Philadelphia, “it is the worst pain a parent would ever go through in their life.”
But instead of mourning over his son, Maenner is spending each and every day watching his son live. They have done whatever the little boy wants, and that included going to the Eagles game and sitting on the 50-yard line. However, none of that would have possible if not for Jackson.
Jackson told NBC Philadelphia that a friend of hers called her on Thursday morning to tell her about Bryan, his family and the little boy’s wish. And as a mom, Jackson knew she had to do what she could. Fortunate to be in a position to help, Jackson called her son and together, they got the Maenners VIP tickets to the game. During halftime, Bryan and his dad got to meet Mrs. Jackson as well.
While this story has a tearful ending, it is uplifting at the same time. Little Bryan got to live out his dying wish, and it is truly a triumph of the human spirit that enabled him to do so. It isn’t much, but at least his father will know that before his little boy died, he got to see the team he loved most in the world.