DURHAM, N.C. — A 10-year-old boy from Durham, N.C., recovering from a rare brain tumor got quite the surprise Sunday when he was offered a mock scholarship to play football for North Carolina Central University.
Howell Brown III didn’t know he was headed to a news conference in his honor when he left home Sunday with his mom Sue Brown. Howell Brown thought he was going to play games with some members of the NCCU football team at the student union.
Upon arrival at the Alfonzo Elder Student Union, Howell Brown was greeted by members of the media, coach Jerry Mack and the football team.
Mack called the surprise news conference so Howell Brown could sign a mock scholarship to play for the Eagles.
“Well, when I heard it, I’m like I’ve never been on a football team, so I’m like, ‘This is is awesome!’ and now I’ve got some good friends and hopefully I’ll have fun with them today,” Howell Brown said.
The special day was arranged by Boston-based nonprofit organization Team IMPACT, which tries to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team.
In November 2012, Howell was diagnosed with Stage IV Pineoblastoma, a rare type of brain tumor. He had surgery the next month to remove the tumor and began radiation and chemotherapy. He finished treatment last September, and two subsequent MRIs have shown no signs of a tumor.
“Just don’t give up, just keep fighting through, even if you don’t feel like doing it, just keep going. You’re going to go over the waves and the waves and you’re eventually going to hit the smooth part,” Howell Brown said.
“It’s a very special day for me, and I hope for his family, to introduce Howell Brown as a part of NCCU’s athletics.”