HOUSTON – Rex Burkhead first met Jack Hoffman over a decade ago while the future Texans’ veteran running back was playing for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Hoffman was diagnosed with pediatric brain cancer and epilepsy when he was five years old after experiencing a seizure.
Burkhead met Hoffman and his family weeks before his second operation to remove a brain tumor.
Hoffman scored a touchdown during the spring game at Nebraska.
“Jack and I met and it was kind of a Make a Wish deal,” Burkhead said. “They didn’t know how much longer he had. We kept in touch. They came out to practice and it was like having another teammate. Team Jack blew up from there. It’s been crazy.”
Burkhead later joined the board of the Team Jack Foundation, which is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for pediatric brain cancer, changing the outcome of children’s lives. The charitable foundation has raised nearly $10 million for research since its inception.
“Coming up on 10 years, I’ve been on the board since early on,” Burkhead said. “It is a rare disease. It needs fundraising. It’s kind of crazy. The state of Nebraska has one of the highest rates of pediatric cancer. It helps fund many clinical trials. It’s a joy to be a part of.”
Burkhead is hosting an event for the Team Jack Foundation on Oct. 10 at Top Golf in Katy with proceeds benefiting the charity, Registration or donations available at http://give.teamjackfoundation.org/event/topgolf-or-texans/e402866.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Burkhead said. “Team Jack Foundation is something I’ve been a part of for a while now. People on the team are coming up to me and asking me, ‘Is that the little kid who scored a touchdown in the spring game at Nebraska? Same kid. Really looking forward to it, raising money for pediatric brain cancer and having the players, having the Texans be a part of it is a real treat. They’ve reached out quite a bit about it and trying to help any way they can. We’ve got some golfers on our team. Hopefully, it will be a great night.”
Hoffman once experienced a seizure at halftime of the New England Patriots’ AFC championship game win over the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving the game before insisting that he and his father return for the second half. He watched Burkhead score two touchdowns, including the game-winning score in overtime.
“Jack’s dad started the foundation, he passed away from brain cancer last year,” Burkhead said. “He was the backbone of it. We’re trying to pass on his legacy.”
Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and a contributor to KPRC 2 and click2houston.com
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