Try to keep a dry eye after hearing about this story.
Last Saturday, Ole Miss made Madison Manning, a 19-year-old boy from Ellisville, Mississippi, the Rebels’ “coach for a day.” Manning is battling cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease of the lungs and pancreas that worsens with age. His brother died at age 21 of the same illness in 2008.
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) August 19, 2016
Here’s more from an Ole Miss release:
Each year, Freeze makes a trip to Batson’s Children Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, to visit with the patients. Typically, the Ole Miss fans gather in the reception area to meet with the Rebels’ head coach. During his most recent trip in July, the first person Freeze met was life-long Rebel fan Madison Manning.
“He was being discharged,” Freeze said. “I make up my mind when I go into those environments that if I get a chance to celebrate with one of those kids, I’m going to do that. I want to high-five and celebrate and invite them to a game. I found out that they’re discharging him because there is really nothing more they can do. That was a moment I won’t forget.”
After Freeze met Manning, the coach began thinking about a way to bring the young boy to practice. Freeze learned that the boy would enjoy soaking in an Ole Miss experience.
Turns out, Manning gained a memory to treasure. He was introduced in front of the team as the “coach for a day,” and he chose the practice format. Chad Kelly invited Manning to enter the quarterback meeting room before practice, and Kelly offered the young boy some items from his locker as gifts.
More gestures took place, including the video boards at the Manning Center lit up to read, “Welcome Coach Madison Manning.” Manning also was allowed to call a few plays. At the end of the practice, players carried him off the field.
“We had a great day,” Freeze said in the release. “Life is difficult. When we have a chance to impact others and make a day better for them, I sure hope we seize those times.”
Check out more in the video below, courtesy of Ole Miss: