#FeelGoodFriday: Two Clemson fans battling critical illnesses watch Tigers win national championship

Yahoo Sports
9-year-old Clemson fan and Make-A-Wish recipient Ryan, who battles severe epilepsy, meets his favorite players ahead of watching them win the national championship. (Make-A-Wish)
9-year-old Clemson fan and Make-A-Wish recipient Ryan, who battles severe epilepsy, meets his favorite players ahead of watching them win the national championship. (Make-A-Wish)

For all but a select few sports fans, much of the news surrounding teams and players is far from good. Losses, injuries, playoff eliminations, suspensions, last-place fantasy football punishments, you name it.  

So, we decided to put together something that can bring a smile to every sports fan’s face: Yahoo Sports’ #FeelGoodFriday Sports News!

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Two young Clemson fans battling critical illnesses watch Tigers win national title

Clemson fans had to travel quite the distance to watch the Tigers’ victorious efforts over Alabama in San Jose, Calif. for the 2019 CFP title. Yet for two fans in particular, the trip could not have been more worth it.

Ryan (above) is a 9-year-old from Pennsylvania. He battles severe epilepsy, but whether he’s playing on the field – or Madden on the big screen – he’s a football fanatic.

And Ivan Jacobs (below) is an 18-year-old high school defensive tackle from North Carolina with cystic fibrosis. He started playing football three years ago after his younger brother Gabriel, a huge football fan himself, unexpectedly passed away.

18-year-old Clemson fan and Make-A-Wish recipient Ivan Jacobs, who battles cystic fibrosis, watches the CFP title game with his family.
18-year-old Clemson fan and Make-A-Wish recipient Ivan Jacobs, who battles cystic fibrosis, watches the CFP title game with his family.

Thanks to Make-A-Wish America, both Ryan and Ivan along with their families had the opportunity to attend the game as well as meet the players at Media Day beforehand and receive private tours of Levi’s Stadium.

“Being face to face with the best college players in the nation inspired me!” Ivan said.

Added Ryan, “This was the best trip ever. It was awesome.”

Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade meet Make-A-Wish recipients

Clemson players weren’t the only athletes inspiring younger generations this week.

Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose hung out with 18-year-old fan and San Diego State University student Hunter Simmons, who has leukemia.

A former NBA MVP, Rose’s career has been derailed by several significant injuries, yet he’s worked his way back onto the court and is enjoying a strong season. It was that very perseverance that inspired Simmons, and why he said he’s such a big D-Rose fan.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade met with Travis Burris, a high school football player fighting brain cancer. Yet it was the retiring NBA legend who asked the visitor for advice: “What do I need to do out there?”

“Keep doin’ you,” Travis responded, from one champion to another. So of course, Wade assumed that applied at all times, regardless of coach Eric Spoelstra’s instructions.

Kawhi Leonard, Raptors visit Toronto children’s hospital

Kawhi Leonard is in his inaugural season up North, and he’s showing the community as much love as they’ve shown him.

Leonard and his Raptors teammates visited patients at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto yesterday.

“We’re just excited to be here to uplift spirits,” Leonard said.

The kids received signed Raptors gear to cap off the memorable day, and The Raptor mascot looks like he had just as much fun!

Eagles OL and former rugby player Jordan Mailata “loses” arm wrestling match to young fan

To muscle you into the weekend, check out this heartwarming arm wresting match between Eagles rookie OL Jordan Mailata and a young girl at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Mailata is a former rugby player who never played organized football prior to getting drafted — the Eagles just loved his pure strength and athleticism.

So naturally, who do you think won?

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