At just 11 years old, Giovanni Hamilton has already dealt with a lifetime’s worth of pain.
The little boy from Muncy, Pennsylvania, has Schwartz-Jampel syndrome, a rare disorder that affects bone and muscle development. His mom Shannon Algarin describes the condition as a combination of muscular dystrophy and dwarfism.
Giovanni has undergone 12 surgeries since he was 2 years old, including hip construction, eye surgery, and jaw distraction to lengthen his lower jaw. As you might imagine, all of these procedures are very painful. But one thing helps the little warrior stay strong — his passion for sports, particularly the Philadelphia Eagles.
In fact, Giovanni draws strength from relating to one player’s experience. Quarterback Carson Wentz suffered multiple season-ending injuries, but his recovery inspired Giovanni to stay positive. That’s why Wentz will always be a hero in Giovanni’s book.
Describing the aftermath of her son’s jaw surgery, Shannon said, “It was really painful and just awful. But he told me, he said, ‘Mom, I’m going to be strong like Carson. Look at how he’s doing with his knee. Look at how he’s doing with his back.'”
Recently, a foundation called Bianca’s Kids granted Giovanni’s wish to meet Wentz at the Philadelphia Eagles training camp this month. The little boy was thrilled, to say the least. He even had a whole speech planned for the big moment.
But when he finally came face-to-face with his idol, he couldn’t help but break down. It was all Giovanni could do to say, “You’re my hero.”
“When the moment actually happened, it was like, ‘Wow. This is worth everything we’ve gone through this year,'” Shannon said.
It meant the world to Giovanni, who told Wentz once again, “You’re my hero.” He’d been through so much up to this point. To finally meet the person who helped him get through it all was simply overwhelming — and a dream come true!
Wentz may be Giovanni’s hero, but to us, Giovanni is the real hero for enduring so much with a smile on his face. Keep fighting, buddy!
Watch their emotional meeting below, and share to spread the love for this incredibly strong kid!
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) July 26, 2019
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