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Volume 23 No. 8
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Writer’s candid story shines light on kind gestures

I recently read [staff writer Ben Fischer’s] thank you letter that ran in the Dec. 16-22 issue of SBJ, and I wanted to thank him for sharing his (and Mandy’s) personal story.

Since 2006, I have worked with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to invite a family who is dealing with cancer in their life to every Eagles home game. I provide them with 50-yard-line tickets, two sideline passes, and I give them a bag of swag when I spend a few minutes with them before the game. My goal is to provide them with a three-hour window where they can take their mind off of their struggle and enjoy a life experience. Admittedly, there are times when I have wondered if this gesture (which seems trivial in the grand scheme of things — after all, the battle on the field is only a game and does not compare to the real world battle of cancer) was meaningful.

Ben’s thank you letter reminded me that it does matter. His last two paragraphs so eloquently described the impact that is possible. It not only warmed my heart, it also affirmed the privilege of being associated with and involved in sports and to have a platform to impact others. His letter touched me by letting me know that creating normalcy for someone may make life a little less scary.

It was great to read the news that Mandy is in remission.

Please thank Ben, again, for being so open with his readers. His story impacted this one.

Don Smolenski

President, Philadelphia Eagles

Questions about OPED guidelines or letters to the editor? Email editor Jake Kyler at