The Estero community prides itself on courage. And one 15-year-old football fan is proving to Southwest Florida that dreams really do come true.
Dillon Simmons is getting ready to head to Super Bowl XLVIII in New York City with his family and 12 others from the Make a Wish Foundation, according to the Naples Daily News.
“Never in a million years did we think he would get it, because that’s huge,” His mother, Denise Simmons said. “Everything he’s ever wanted to do, he is doing this weekend,”
And she says her son was speechless for the first time in his life when he found out he’d be going to the Super Bowl.
“I just selected the Super Bowl, because it’s the Super Bowl and I’ll never be able to do it,” said Dillon, who was wearing his Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning jersey.
Dillon played linebacker when he was younger and one day hopes to play again at Estero High School, where he is currently a freshman.
“He went from playing the best game of his life, to a life changed forever,” Denise Simmons said as she recalled that day.
Sometimes We Just Don’t See it Coming
Dillon was diagnosed with a malignant brain stem tumor—a diffused astrocytoma-grade II—in September 2012. It rapidly changed to a grade III and was originally revealed after Dillon suffered from an injury while playing as a defenseman in a travel hockey league.
But when he found out that he had a brain tumor, Denise Simmons said he looked at her straight in the eye and said, “Don’t worry, Mom, I’ve got this.”
“He is absolutely the strongest person I have ever met,” his mother said.
Apart from the New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers NHL game and the Superbowl, Dillon is excited about eating New York-style pizza. He said he wants a plain cheese pie, with pepperoni perhaps.
As I turn on my TV on Sunday—or Monday—or Friday—to watch the Superbowl, I’ll be thinking about Dillon’s story and how much of an inspiration he is to us all.