As the New England Patriots prepare for Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, one of Julian Edelman's biggest fans is celebrating, too. Grady Smith, of Salem, New Hampshire, was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder several months ago, but his latest scans are showing improvements.
Those words of encouragement are now the Smith family motto as they help Grady battle this disease.
Smith said Grady was over the moon when he heard back from Edelman, and they continue to keep in touch. Edelman even visited Grady in the hospital a few months ago after Grady needed chemo and then a bone marrow transplant to stop the disease from progressing.
"It changed his whole demeanor and every time he was nervous or upset he would watch that video," Smith said.
Now Grady's spirits are even higher as Edelman and the rest of the Patriots make their way to the Super Bowl.
"Grady thinks it all happened because of him," Smith said.
And while Edelman stays in the spotlight for the big game, Smith hopes her son’s story can also be shared to help other families.
She says there’s a simple test doctors can do at birth to detect ALD in babies before it gets worse.
"It’s a heel prick it’s a very simple test," she said. "It costs around $2.50."
But hospitals in New Hampshire and Massachusetts don’t do that test automatically. So, the Smith family is now pushing for that to change.
"If something’s gonna come out of this, we need to make it positive and we need to fight for all these other little boys and their families," Jillian said. "It’s just unnecessary suffering. You can catch this."
Smith said Grady needs to be isolated this year to protect his immune system after his treatment. But he has a tutor at home while he starts rehab this week.
He plans on going back to school as a third-grader next year.