Troy Aikman Surprises Children's Health Patient With Super Bowl Ring - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Troy Aikman Surprises Children's Health Patient With Super Bowl Ring

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Lubbock teen struggling with a rare condition got a very special visit at Children's Health in Dallas Monday. (Published Monday, Jan. 2, 2017)

    Blake Byrne struggles with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissue.

    The 18-year-old has been battling the genetic disorder for nearly his entire life and recently had a valve replaced in his heart.

    He and his mom have been traveling from Lubbock to the Heart Center at Children's Health in Dallas for years. That's where Byrne, an avid sports fan, got the suprise of a lifetime from one of his idols -- former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and three-time Super Bowl winner Troy Aikman.

    When Aikman heard of the young man's hardship, he wanted to help.

    "I'm fortunate. I've been able to do a lot of things and when I have opportunities to try and come back and do something nice for others that are going through tougher times, you try and do that," said Aikman.

    Aikman went to the hospital Monday to meet Byrne and gave him a replica Super Bowl ring from 1992.

    Although Marfan syndrome prevents Byrne from playing sports, his mind has been likened to a statistician.

    "Just because you can't do something doesn't mean you can't love it, be involved in it. You just have to have the right mindset on things," Byrne said.

    He aspires to one day be a professional sportscaster.

    John McCarthy donated the 1992 Super Bowl replica ring to Children's Health a couple of weeks ago and the staff set up the celebrity hand-off.

    "Blake never expected this. I never expected this. I just thought I'd drop the ring off and some nice kid would get it and it turned into something really spectacular. Now he's going to be a hometown hero," said McCarthy.

    "Blake will never forget this day," said his mother, Beverly. It's really hard to shock Blake and he got shocked today. He got floored and it was worth every minute."

    In just a few weeks, Blake will head back to Texas Tech University to continue his journalism studies.

    He also said he plans to wear the ring every single day.

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