Andy Hoffman Recognized for Work Fighting Pediatric Brain Cancer

Andy Hoffman Recognized for Work Fighting Pediatric Brain Cancer

Thursday, September 29, 2016

ESPN - Written by: Bob Pockrass

NEW YORK -- If anyone needed a reminder of the power of sport, the power of a moment in sport, one wouldn't have to look anymore at YouTube for one of the memorable football highlights.

It was the 2013 spring game at the University of Nebraska. Decked in red-and-white, then-7-year-old Jack Hoffman carried the ball for a 69-yard touchdown run.

The video posted by the school has been watched nearly nine million times.

That 7-year-old turned 11 this week. Diagnosed with brain cancer at age 5, Jack Hoffman has had two rounds of chemotherapy and two different brain tumor surgeries.

"He's doing great," said his father, Andy Hoffman. "His MRI recently has shown some suspicious activity, so we are concerned. He has an MRI in Boston next week, so we're concerned about maybe having to start treatment again.

"We're going to let tomorrow worry about itself."

Andy Hoffman and his family started the Team Jack Foundation before that famous touchdown and had raised $300,000. Through the power of sport and hard work, it now has raised 10 times that amount with another $3 million in matching funds that the family is donating for pediatric brain cancer research and clinical trials that they hope will avoid the situation they found themselves in with a treatment program developed 30 years ago.

It was no surprise that the NASCAR Foundation's Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award went to Andy Hoffman. It's not because this charity was any more worthy than the other three finalists, but when the $100,000 award (the other finalists earned $25,000) was put up for an online vote, it is pretty easy to remember watching that 7-year-old Jack and the emotions it stirred.

"It's a huge credit to the power of sports," Andy Hoffman said Tuesday night prior to the award being announced. "I always tell people when Jack scored that touchdown run in the spring of 2013, he didn't just score a touchdown for the Nebraska Cornhuskers for the red team, he scored a touchdown for pediatric brain cancer research.

"That's what that's been all about. That's what we've been able to do with that entire platform."

Introducing Hoffman at the NASCAR Foundation Honors Gala on Tuesday night was Martin Truex Jr., whose own foundation was created with similar goals as far as developing new, pediatric-centric cancer treatments. He had spent the day with his longtime girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, in a media blitz to talk about Pollex's battle with ovarian cancer and their foundation's efforts in that arena.

"It's amazing," Truex said about Hoffman. "It's an unbelievable story and his commitment is incredible."

Jack Hoffman was at the event. He remembers his iconic touchdown run maybe a little different than others.

"I was freaked out that morning," he said.

The shy 11-year-old -- stoked by getting a mini drum for his birthday this week -- admits he has watched the video of the touchdown "a few times."

He lived it -- he has an ESPY as the "best moment" of 2013 -- and continues to fight.

"We see so many kids affected by this disease that aren't doing as well as Jack," Andy Hoffman said. "So from our perspective, he's doing awesome. We're going to just keep battling and fighting until we beat this thing."

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