Sometimes football is more than a game. Sometimes it is a bit of hope, a distraction from life's hardships, and your favorite players can provide more than just an autograph.
That certainly is the case for Justyna Boucher.
The 21-year-old was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, soft tissue phyllodes sarcoma, and given six months to live. On April 28, she took to Facebook to share her journey with friends and family, which began in May 2015, just before she was set to graduate high school.
Justyna's journey since then has included a partial mastectomy, surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy, and now, she has been living between Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital since February, according to her post.
At the end of her post, Justyna put out a plea to her followers: "If anyone knows Julian Edelman or knows someone who knows Julian Edelman please send him to Brigham & Women’s Hospital Floor 5B room 33. Thank you."
Through the power of social media, it didn't take long for Julian to hear about Justyna and her courageous battle, so on May 2, the Patriot surprised her with a visit at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Justyna finally was able to meet her favorite player, and there was no shortage of smiles, selfies and shared inspiration.
Julian posted to his Instagram photos from the day, writing: "Character isn’t built through easy times, it’s built on how you carry yourself through the hardest obstacles. Justyna your perseverance and positive attitude should be an example for anyone fighting an uphill battle. I can’t express to you what it means to call you a friend."
Though Justyna fights fiercely on, she does so with a new friend in her corner: Julian Edelman.