It was about this time last year that Kyle Anderson’s left leg began bothering him.
His parents, Kip and Deb, are doctors, but even they didn’t foresee what was to come for their active, almost-teenage son: Chemotherapy to shrink a cancerous tumor in his leg; a February operation to replace the cancer-infected bone with a metal prosthesis that can “grow” as Kyle does; and all the emotions that come with seeing your oldest child go through such an ordeal.
So why were they all wearing non-stop smiles on Sunday?
Kyle was living his dream – the one granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation – by hanging with the Seahawks as they held a walkthrough at Virginia Mason Athletic Center to prepare for Monday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field.
Disneyland? Been there, done that. Other options? Not even an option. Kyle wanted to attend this game between his favorite teams and meet Seahawks running back
“I’ve been to the Disney places a couple times,” said Kyle, now 13 and in the eighth grade. “And I’ve never been to an NFL game. So I decided that this would be the way to go. I didn’t know it was going to be Monday night; I just wanted to see a Seattle game anyway. When the schedule came out and I saw they were playing the Packers, I said, ‘That’s the one I want to go to.’ ”
And his love for Lynch? “Well Marshawn, he’s just the best player on the team,” Kyle said.
If Kyle’s visit to VMAC had been a burger, it came with all the fixings. He watched the walkthrough with his parents and younger sister, Katherine Marie. After it was over and the players were filing out of the indoor practice facility, they stopped to shake hands and pose for picture with Kyle – wide receiver
Then it was on to the locker room, where he had his own cubicle – complete with KYLE ANDERSON 24 above it. Inside were an autographed Lynch 24 jersey and other goodies. Quarterback
“I just thanked him for all the stuff he did for me,” Kyle said. “Back in January, on my birthday, I was in the hospital and he called on the phone. I didn’t believe it was him at first, but it was. So that was nice.
“It’s really special having a friend like that in the NFL.”
For his part in all this, Lynch was honored that Kyle included him in his Wish, but stressed that his motives are personal, not publicity-driven.
“It’s a good feeling, especially because I do a lot with the kids,” Lynch said, referring to his work with his Fam 1st Family Foundation. “For a kid to be sick and then the only thing that they want to do is meet me – for what strange reason, I have no idea – it made me feel good that what I’m doing somebody could take the initiative and appreciate what I actually do.
“But it’s a bigger thing for me because I’m real heavy into the community and working with kids. Every opportunity I get I don’t mind doing something for them. But I don’t do it for publicity; I don’t do it for this interview. I do it because I want to. I do it from the heart, because that’s the type of person I am.”
Kyle gets around on crutches, but isn’t using his situation as a crutch. That was evident when he was asked about his connection to the Seahawks. The Packers being one of his favorite teams is understandable, because he lives in Columbus, Neb., and his dad is a Packers’ fan. But the Seahawks?
“Back when they were in the Super Bowl, they were playing the Steelers – who are my uncle’s favorite team,” Kyle said. “So I like to create family controversy, so I rooted for Seattle and stuck with them ever since.”
Reminded that there have been some rough times since the Super Bowl in 2005, Kyle quipped, “Yeah, but I went through Bill Callahan at Nebraska, so I can make it through this.”
Kyle’s family is season-ticket holders for University of Nebraska football games.
After his time in the locker room, Kyle and his family had lunch in the cafeteria. Then the wait until the game began.
“We never would have been able to swing this on our own, so just the fact that the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Seahawks did it for us …” Deb Anderson said, pausing as her voice cracked. “This is something he’s always dreamed about. He feels he got the short end of the stick in life, and maybe he did, so this just makes up for it.”