Bracelet from Hays teen winning fight against cancer inspires Patrick Mahomes
A small piece of Hays, Kansas is going with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes to Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
It's a yellow bracelet worn by the Chiefs star signal caller in support of Sophia Linenberger, a 16-year-old who, in November, beat cancer.
Following her diagnosis for Ewing Sarcoma, Sophia spent months traveling from Hays to Kansas City's Children's Mercy hospital for chemotherapy and radiation.
Children's Mercy asked Sophia to represent them at a gala for Mahomes' foundation in November. There, he donated 15,000 to 15 different charities. At that event, Sophia's mother, Jenny Linenberger spoke to the Chiefs' quarterback.
"I caught him by the arm and said, 'Mr. Mahomes?' And he said, 'Yeah?' And I said, 'My daughter wanted to give you this,'" Jenny recalls.
Mahomes took the yellow bracelet and told her to look for it the next game as he'd be wearing it. From that point on, the defending NFL MVP wore the "Sophia Strong" bracelet in every remaining game of the regular season and through Kansas City's first two playoff games.
On Feb. 2, he'll be wearing in on one of the biggest sports stages in the world. Adding to the love for Sophia from Chiefs Kingdom, the CEO of Children's Mercy gave her a Chiefs helmet, signed by Mahomes.
"It just means a lot," Sophia says.
Sophia is in remission and continues to go to physical therapy in her recovery.
"I'm learning how to walk again," she says.
She says she hopes the "Sophia Strong' bracelet helps Mahomes the way he helped her.
"When he looks down and sees "Sophia Strong," I hope he sees that he's strong too," she says. "And if I can get through cancer, and I can win cancer, he can do whatever he wants."