Seven-year-old brain cancer patient Jack Hoffman tugged heartstrings across the country recently with his inspirational 69-yard touchdown run in the Nebraska spring game, one of the more touching football moments most have ever seen.
On Monday, Hoffman again took one to the house — the White House, that is — where he, his parents, two sisters and former Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead spent 15 minutes in the Oval Office with President Barack Obama.
According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, the meeting was arranged in part by US Senator Deb Fischer, who just last week adopted a resolution designating Sept. 26, 2013, as National Pediatric Brain Cancer Awareness Day, in honor of Hoffman.
The family flew into Washington on Saturday and on Monday met with Obama, who reportedly greeted Hoffman by asking, “Hey, what’s up Jack?” Obama also told Hoffman that he had seen his run on television and later gave him an autographed football with the presidential seal.
”I thought it was awesome,” Jack said.
According to the Journal-Star, Obama also thanked Burkhead, who was drafted Saturday by the Cincinnati Bengals, for befriending Hoffman in 2011, shortly after he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Obama also spoke with Hoffman’s parents about his visions in the field of pediatric brain cancer research.
“It was a great visit,” Jack’s dad, Andy, told the Journal-Star. “This is huge for the disease, it has never had this kind of spotlight, and that’s what excites us.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Hoffman’s touchdown run had nearly 8 million views on YouTube:
Jack has been a familiar face to Huskers fans who have rallied around the ”Team Jack” campaign and saw him help lead the team’s traditional Tunnel Walk before last September’s game against Wisconsin.
The rest of the nation got to know Jack from the April 6 spring game, after the coaching staff invited Jack to run a play in the fourth quarter. Wearing a miniature Burkhead uniform, he took a handoff from Taylor Martinez and scooted 69 yards to the end zone.
Players on both sidelines poured onto the field, followed him across the goal line and mobbed him, lifting him on their shoulders to the delight of the crowd of 60,000. National news networks showed video of Jack’s TD run for several days.