This year’s Super Bowl will be extra special for one Massachusetts man battling cancer.
Jeremy Smallwood won Super Bowl tickets in a contest, and was helped along the way by friends, family and his team of doctors and nurses.
Smallwood and his wife, who live in Beverly, say entering this contest has given them more smiles during a time when there weren’t that many going around.
“I’ve been through a lot, to be here with all of these people and to be going this Thursday – it’s just incredible,” Smallwood, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, said.
The New England Patriots fan and his wife raised $15,000 for lung cancer research through the Chris Draft Family Foundation. Through its annual Lung Cancer Survivors Super Bowl Challenge, Team Draft sends top fundraisers to the Super Bowl, the NFL Pro-Bowl and Taste of the NFL.
Smallwood won the third annual event with help from family, friends and his team from Lahey Medical Center in Peabody.
“My doctor donated, a lot of our nurses donated. I never could have imagined so many people would get behind us on this,” Smallwood said.
Draft, a former NFL player with the Atlanta Falcons, started the foundation after lung cancer took his wife’s life.
“When she got diagnosed in December 2010, one of the things she always wanted to do was go to the Super Bowl,” Draft said.
She did, and now Smallwood and his wife can have the experience they never thought possible. Eighty percent of the money raised will go back to Lahey to be put in a fund in Smallwood’s name.
“It’s just huge for me,” he said. “It’s a way to take these lemons and make them into lemonade.”
Smallwood, who grew up in Texas, is excited to show his wife his home state. And while his seats will be near Roger Goodell, he said he’ll keep quiet because he doesn’t want to ruffle too many feathers.