Lisa Buck said she grew up a Pittsburgh Steelers Fan, but over the years she wanted to root for a new team.
“My son was liking the Ravens, so I started watching, next thing you know I became a Ravens fan,” Buck said.
Shortly after, her daughter Virginia starting cheering for the team as well.
She said she wears the color purple proud, but Lisa said it’s significant for another reason.
“That is actually the color for JHD, which is Juvenile Huntington’s Disease, which Virginia has,” Buck said.
Huntington’s Disease is caused by a defective chromosome.
It causes uncontrolled body movements and decreases a person’s memory, concentration and reasoning skills.
Lisa said she and Virginia talk openly about it, but with no known cure it can be tough to stay positive.
“I’ve been actually feeling down lately I’m not going to lie. I’ve been feeling depressed and it’s been really hard knowing what’s going on,” Virginia said.
Her love for Ravens football is an outlet for some happiness.
It’s a time for her to relax and watch her favorite player, Joe Flacco.
Brent Zimmerman crossed paths with the Bucks over the holidays.
He said when he heard about Virginia’s wish to meet Flacco, he wanted to help.
“You have the opportunity to do something good for somebody, you should do it,” Zimmerman said.
He started the non-profit organization ‘Willing Hearts Outreach,” after he was inspired to pay it forward in his community.
Zimmerman said he told Virginia’s family he’d find a way for her to meet the NFL superstar.
After many phone calls, and donations from the community, Zimmerman was able to coordinate a trip to Baltimore.
And Virginia was able to meet her football hero.
“I froze. I usually talk more honestly but, I think it’s honestly because I never thought something like this would happen,” Virginia said.
“No amount of money, anything can ever replace the smile on her face that day. Something that we have not seen from her for at least a year,” Lisa said.
Virginia said she hopes this story raises awareness about Huntington’s Disease, and is motivation for others to learn from “Willing Hearts Outreach” to pay it forward.