It was a special day for the Klein family back in December as they gathered around their television to watch the New England Patriots play the Buffalo Bills on the road.
Sure, they got to see their local NFL team defeat a division rival, but the Kleins were most interested in what quarterback Mac Jones had written on his cleats as opposed to the ball being thrown from his hands.
Participating in the NFL's My Cause My Cleat initiative for the first time, the rookie was representing Boston Children's Hospital and Robbie – the Klein's seven-year-old son. That moment came full circle at training camp practice Tuesday, with Mac and Robbie meeting for the first time.
"As a rookie, I wanted to get involved with the Children's Hospital," Jones said of his relationship with the boy. "They mentioned Robbie and how much he loves sports and how he can't play because of his condition, but that he loves to watch the Patriots. To be able to meet him face to face on the practice field today was just really cool for me. I signed a couple of cards and gave him a towel, so he has a little souvenir to go home with."
Robbie has severe hemophilia A, which is a bleeding disorder that prevents his blood from properly clotting.
As his mother Kayla puts it, their family has been frequent flyers at BCH since Robbie was born, developing strong relationships at the hospital and appreciation for the staff members who care for him. Given Robbie's bubbly demeanor despite everything he's been through, he was exactly the type of kid Mac hoped to build a friendship with.
"Everywhere I've been, I've tried to do some form of community service -- especially with kids and to try and help the younger age group grow," Mac said. "Some people have been very beneficial to me when I was little, so I look up to them as role models. Hopefully I can just provide that fun humor for them. That's kind of who I am, just a fun, easy-going person. So just be able to hang out with different kids and just build the relationships is really cool for me."
It's pretty cool for Robbie, too, who felt like a celebrity at practice Tuesday.
When BCH reached out to his family last year for My Cause My Cleats, they were thrilled. Robbie was allowed to stay up well past his bedtime to watch that game against Buffalo, but his family had no idea how fulfilling the experience would be.
"I don't think any of us really understood the magnitude or the impact that this would have for patients at Children's or those living with bleeding disorders," Kayla said, reflecting on the last year.
"It really was such a wonderful experience for not only Robbie, but our whole family to be able to amplify the voices of those at Children's and also those living with hemophilia – to highlight their successes and how they're thriving."
Robbie definitely was thriving Tuesday.
He got to go on the field, get autographs from Mac, and pose with the quarterback for photos after taking in the joint practice with the Carolina Panthers. Robbie also spoke of his excitement to go down to Pittsburgh on Sept. 18 to watch the Patriots take on the Steelers and celebrate his eighth birthday.
For Robbie's family, it was just another example of the boy not letting his disorder hold him back from being a normal kid and enjoying life.
"At the end of the day, if we can be strong than he is strong," Kayla said. "It's just a part of our lives. He has hemophilia, and we're a family that deals with it and navigates it in a way that doesn't have to be sad. It can be a "yay" – just like today is."
The relationship is mutually beneficial for Mac, too – even beyond the perspective it gives him.
"He's a tough kid and comes from a great family," Mac said of Robbie. "To be able to go over there today and give them those things, it just made my day. Regardless of what happens on the field, it's always good to make someone's day off the field."