Former UCF WR Gabriel Davis helps make 8-year-old’s holiday wish come true
Jackson DeLude didn’t ask for the latest toy or game this holiday season — the 8-year-old from Buffalo, New York, asked for the ability to walk and run alongside his friends.
At birth, DeLude’s legs never fully developed and needed two prosthetics, also called blades, Disney Parks Blog states.
Little did he know his wish would come true in such a magical fashion thanks to two NFL players.
Current Buffalo Bills teammates and Orlando natives Gabriel Davis and Matt Milano became aware of DeLude’s story and wanted to help out.
Davis, a former UCF Knight and Bills rookie receiver, and Milano, a Bills linebacker, heard about his story and arranged for Jackson and his mother to fly from Buffalo, New York, to Orlando, Florida, where Jackson was fitted for the blades.
The dream for the young boy did not stop there.
Davis and Milano also paid the expenses for the DeLude family to spend the day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Ashley DeLude said the experience was even more magical because it was the family’s first time at Walt Disney World.
“Riding Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway was pretty amazing,” Jackson’s mother, Ashley, said. “But also being in Disney for the first time in his blades, in this magical place … together … he’ll never forget it.”
Jackson DeLude’s wish became an unbelievable reality for the DeLude family.
“He’s on blades for the first time at Disney,” Ashley DeLude said. “How magical is that?”
Jackson told his mother that his cheeks hurt from smiling so much throughout the day.
“How does it feel to run, bro? How does it feel to run?” Davis asked DeLude on a Zoom call after the prosthetics were fitted.
“Great!” Jackson DeLude said over Zoom on Monday. “Now, when I get back to school, I can keep up with my friends and participate and stuff. That’s all because of you guys.”
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