Jack Hoffman touched a lot of hearts with his inspirational 69-yard touchdown run during the Nebraska football spring game recently.
One of those moved by 7-year-old Hoffman’s run was President Barack Obama. And Monday afternoon the leader of the free world welcomed the entire Hoffman family to the White House for a visit inside the Oval Office.
Andy Hoffman, his wife Brianna and three children – including Jack – made the trip from Atkinson, Nebraska to Washington D.C. at the request of the White House.
The Hoffman family was joined by 2012 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion and former Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead.
A friendship between Burkhead and Jack Hoffman was the catalyst for Nebraksa Univeristy starting an Uplifting Athletes chapter in the spring of 2012.
“Being in there talking with the President was a weird feeling,” said Burkhead, who was drafted in the sixth round by the Cincinnati Bengals over the weekend. “Being in there with the Hoffman family and Jack and bringing about awareness to pediatric brain cancer is very important. It’s all about bring more awareness and raising money for more research.”
And earlier this year, Uplifting Athletes presented a check for $275,000 to the Dana Farber cancer institute in Boston in the fight against pediatric brain cancer – the rare disease that Jack Hoffman is battling.
Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Scott Shirley was in Washington D.C. Monday and visited with the Hoffman family and Burkhead following their visit with President Obama.
“The President was very gracious with his time with us. We didn’t get to talk about pediatric brain cancer very much,” Hoffman said. “But what we really thanked him for was starting a national conversation to help us further awareness for the disease.
“And we thanked him for that. It was an awesome experience for our entire family.”
Uplifting Athletes and Team Jack, the foundation Andy and Breanna Hoffman founded to aid in this fight against the rare disease of pediatric brain cancer, are working together to raise awareness and funds.
And when Jack’s innocent 69-yard touchdown run, which has more than 7.7 million views on YouTube, went viral it created a platform to bring more exposure to the challenges the Hoffman family, and millions of other rare disease families, face on a daily basis.
“It was just a remarkable event that was very authentic. It wasn’t something rehearsed or anything,” Andy Hoffman said of Jack’s touchdown run. “It was the human spirit being revealed in a very loving, touching way.
“The President talked about Jack being on Sportscenter and being the No 1 play that day. And he thought that was pretty cool.”