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Texas Christian University star quarterback Trevone Boykin spent 60 minutes lighting up Iowa State in a win over the weekend, but it's the short moment he spent with a young Cyclones fan that left the biggest impression.
Before the undefeated Horned Frogs began their 45-21 win over host Iowa State, Boykin squatted down to say hello to Abby Faber, a 7-year-old with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, who was in her wheelchair by the field. Abby's parents, Jenny and Steve, had submitted her to be a "Kid Captain" for the game as part of a program at Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, where she goes for her physical therapy.
"I think that it being that he was right in the middle of getting ready for the game, it was surprising at that time,'' Jenny Faber told TODAY.com. "The Iowa State players came out and had time to shake her hand, but then to see [Boykin] do something like that at that time was really cool."
Boykin asked, "What's your name?" according to Forth Worth Star-Telegram photographer Paul Moseley, who captured the touching gesture in a photo that has gone viral. Boykin posted it on his Instagram page, writing, "It's bigger than a game. I love touching young people's lives."
Abby's parents actually didn't witness the moment because their view was blocked by officials and photographers on the sideline, so they didn't know about it until Jenny received a text message from her brother with a screenshot of Abby and Boykin from the television broadcast.
"It's kind of unbelievable,'' Faber said. "It's just crazy how many people have seen it, and it's been great to read all the good comments. Abby has heard us talking about it, and she told her grandmother she's famous. A school aide came yesterday and called her a celebrity."
Abby spent 105 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at Blank Children's Hospital after being born prematurely and weighing one pound, 13 ounces. She usually uses a walker but was in a wheelchair at the game to help her get on and off the field faster, according to her mother.
Sports are a regular part of the first-grader's life, as she plays baseball as part of the Miracle League for special needs children in her hometown of Ankeny, Iowa. She also takes dance classes in a program called Dance Without Limits that is part of Ballet Des Moines.
Abby can also be found cheering on her three older siblings in their football, baseball, basketball and softball games, and now she has another athlete to root for.
"She's liked her Cyclones for quite a while, and now we'll all be watching Boykin and following his games,'' Jenny Faber said.
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