When Nebraska plays Wisconsin in football this Saturday, a group Siouxlanders and big Husker fans will be part of their own team, looking to raise money in the fight against pediatric brain cancer.
Seven-year old Jack Hoffman of Atkinson Nebraska is one of the biggest Husker fans on the planet.
"Go Big Red!," says Jack Hoffman.
When you see his energy and excitement showing off his Nebraska memorabilia it can be easy to forget that Jack is currently undergoing a second round of radiation treatments for pediatric brain cancer. Jack's family say that his energy is an inspiration.
"I'm just so proud of how he battles. After each neurosurgery he wanted to get up and move around. He's just a tremendous trooper," says Andy Hoffman, Jack's Dad.
Most of Jack's Husker mementos come from running back Rex Burkhead, who befriended the Hoffmans when they visited a Husker practice last year. Family members say Rex was so inspired by Jack that he's taken it upon himself to raise awareness for pediatric brain cancer research.
"Rex has been such a blessing to our family. It's allowed us a platform to be able to do that. We're very thankful for the opportunity. There aren't a lot of kids out there with brain tumors, but they sure need all the awareness they can get," says Brianna Hoffman, Jack's Mom.
Frustrated with the lack of advancements in pediatric brain cancer care…the Hoffmans decided to do something about it. Teaming with 94-Rock radio in Norfolk and all the other Nebraska football affiliates for what's become known as the "Team Jack Out."
The Hoffmans have spent their own time and money to print Team Jack t-shirts, and each Husker radio affiliate found vendors that agreed to sell the shirts with all the proceeds raised going to children's pediatric research. It will all culminate Saturday when Nebraska takes on Wisconsin as fans are being urged to wear their Team Jack shirts to the game to support the cause. The Hoffmans say when it comes to raising awareness about children's brain cancer…there might not be a better partner than the fans of Nebraska football.
"Through these gates are the greatest fans in college football. That's what the walls of Memorial Stadium say. And this guy here, and our family we know that better than anybody else," says Andy Hoffman.
A statewide movement to raise money and awareness for children's pediatric brain cancer…all stemming from the bond between a little boy and a compassionate running back.
"The thing that I like most about Rex is that he cares for me," says Jack Hoffman, cancer patient.
And now, thanks to the efforts of the Hoffman family, so does the rest Nebraska. The Hoffman family say the response has been so great that they've had to print a second order of shirts. The Hoffman's estimate more than 12-thousand shirts will have been sold by Saturday's game.
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