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The first five words in the fifth neurosurgery update from the Hoffman family delivered encouraging news for Team Jack fans across the country and around the world: "We are smiling in Boston," Andy Hoffman wrote on the Jack Hoffman CaringBridge website that chronicles the 6-year-old Nebraskan who underwent a second surgery for brain cancer Monday at Boston Children's Hospital.
Jack Hoffman has a relationship with Husker running back Rex Burkhead, and ABC-TV commentators Sean McDonough, Matt Millen and Jeannine Edwards highlighted that bond Saturday night while officials reviewed whether Burkhead's 17-yard touchdown run would hold up in the fourth quarter of Nebraska's 34-27 nationally-televised win over Ohio State.
During the delay for that confirmed review, McDonough introduced the story, saying: "Fans here love Rex Burkhead, and what's not to like? Terrific young man. Good student. Well respected. Jeannine Edwards will tell us a story about a relationship he's formed with a 6-year-old boy who's battling cancer."
Edwards talked about the "Team Jack - Pray" bracelet Burkhead has worn in three straight wins, and Millen finished with this: "Hey Jack, you picked a good guy to watch, and we'll be saying a little prayer for you." McDonough said Burkhead told him that he intended to call Jack whenever possible after Monday's surgery.
Stage is Set for the Victory of Life
Andy Hoffman reported on Jack's Journal site that the "neurosurgeon is very happy with the result. She states that 90+ percent of the tumor was removed! The seizure foci are all gone so hopefully Jack won't have any more 'episodes'. Dr. G feels 'very good' about Jack's long-term prognosis. Jack will still be subject to serial scanning and possibly future treatment, but the stage is set for the victory of life."
Groggy and sleepy from the anesthesia, Jack is stable. "He has good vitals, passes basic neurological testing, knows everyone's name, has told us that he loves us, and can respond to demands," his father said. "He appears neurologically sound. We pray that his physical functions will all be intact as well. We have no reason to believe they won't be."
Plans called for Jack to move out of ICU Tuesday morning, and all signs continue to be encouraging. Andy had another encouraging an update after Jack had "a great night". His dad said he was "quite chatty" when he woke up at 4 a.m. and even briefly played his iPad, finding an old friend, "Tap Zoo", his favorite app. Andy said his son "had been begging" to have his catheter removed since 4 o'clock Monday afternoon, and Tuesday morning, that wish was granted. "He's still quite sleepy and in a lot of pain," his father said, "but overall, he's doing fantastic."
Jack's mom and dad continue to be "amazed and overwhelmed by all of Jack's prayer warriors. We do not have the words in our vocabulary to describe our appreciation to everyone that has bent over backwardsto Pray for Jack," Andy said. "We believe in the power of prayer. We have seen it work first-hand on yet another occasion. Jack's prayer team is the best in the world. Thank you!"
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Voices from Husker Nation
What a wonderful story! As a mother of a son who survived Leukemia, I know what the Hoffman family is going through. When events happen that allow the family to forget the illness and be a "normal" family, even if only for a few hours, those moments and events are priceless. And to have a person like Rex keep the relationship going is even more admirable. He is truly a "hero" on and off the field. My prayers are with the Hoffman family as they go through this difficult time. I pray for Jack and that God guides the medical teams in their treatment of Jack. And I pray for Rex Burkhead! What a gift! Betsy Elder, Paxton, Nebraska
Great article on Jack Hoffman and Rex Burkhead. Rex sure seems to be as good as it gets when it comes to college athletes. Very fine young man. I was at the game on Saturday night with my son (a student at Northwestern in Chicago). First half couldn't have been worse, and the second half couldn't have been better. Have read and enjoyed your Husker material for years. Mick Higley, Denver, Colorado
I can't say enough about you bringing this young man's story to light and the connection with Rex Burkhead, our CLASS ONE Husker! This is a great story, and I, too, will be praying for Jack and his family. Rex is obviously the perfect role model for young people, and I'm proud that he's a Husker! Thanks again! Ron Conrad, Husker fan
I have a 4-year-old daughter who is in perfect health. Thank God. I don't know if I could handle anything bad happening to her. I just hope everything turns out great for this little boy. As for Burkhead, he could fumble the next 20 times he carries the ball, but he still would be considered a hero in my book. What a great role model for Jack to have. Once again, my prayers are with you Jack. Go Big Red. Joseph Anderson, Omaha, Nebraska
Jack's situation proves that there are more important things to be discussing and concerned about than "reporting" and press conferences. Victor Lee, Albion, Nebraska
Thanks for the outstanding articles! I work for Jack's dad, Andy, at Krotter Hoffman Law Firm in Atkinson. You simply cannot believe the inspiration Rex has instilled in the Hoffman family's life , as well as ours! Keep up the great work! Go Huskers, Team Jack and Team Rex!!! Barb Ohde, Atkinson, Nebraska
Thank you for sharing the beautiful story about Team Jack and Rex Burkhead. Please keep us all informed, as much as the family will allow on Jack's prognosis. Linda Handke, Lincoln, Nebraska Editor's note: The family encourages all who are interested to follow Jack's progress on his personal CaringBridge website, where his father is writing daily updates.
What a great story. Would love to join an official prayer team and will keep him in our thoughts and prayers. Todd Cleaver, Phoenix, Arizona
The power of prayer is amazing. Thank heavens for people like Rex Burkhead who care. Steve Lauver, Spirit Lake, Iowa
Wow. This is what life is all about. Love Husker football. However, there are more important things out there. Go Jack Go!!! Doug Peterson, Denver, Colorado
I just wanted to tell how much I enjoy your articles on the N-Sider Blog and thanks for the update on little Jack. Continue the great work, and I look forward to whatever is next on your blog. Mike'l Severe, Omaha, Nebraska