DENVER – Homecoming is a special night, and members of the Manual High School football team made sure it would be a night to remember for a special little girl, according to Fox 31.
The Thunderbolts were in Nebraska for a football camp over the summer.
On their way back to Denver, they got the order to do some community service.
So, they went to a home to do some yard work and didn’t realize their lives would be changed forever.
Avelynn turned three years old earlier this month, and her nurses call her the strongest little girl in the world.
Avi was born with several complications, has already undergone multiple open heart surgeries and doctors didn’t expect her to live past six weeks.
The Manual football team’s community service was to turn Avi’s backyard full of dirt into grass that she immediately fell in love with.
“When we saw that little girl walk out onto her new lawn, it touched my heart so much,” said Losseny Kone, senior running back. “I wanted to cry.”
“It’s something that immediately touched us,” said Benhamin Butler, defensive coordinator. “I think that there’s so few times in your life when you can feel an immediate impact. Normally, it takes days, weeks, years of reflections.”
Avi made such a big impact on Manual’s team that they wanted to do more.
“There is something special about high school and about a high school football game on a Friday night and, meeting little Avi, we wanted to make sure we could share that experience with her of what a high school homecoming night was,” Butler said.
So, the Thunderbolts invited her to their homecoming game and crowned Avi homecoming queen.
“Her coming out here today is what really is going to drive us, and our passion is what we need as a team and a school,” Kone said. “To see this girl walk out and be crowned queen – something she probably won’t experience ever, so it really means a lot to us.”
The newly crowned 2015 Manual High School homecoming queen had just as big of an impact on the team as they did on her.
“Our coach always has a saying: ‘Choose life,'” Kone said. “That little girl chose life. She chose to move on.”