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'Tuff Girl' on the football field raises money to support grandmother's cancer fight

Peyton Watson, 10, is known for her toughness as the only girl in her Texas youth football league, and she gets it from a woman battling a m
/ Source: TODAY

As the only girl in her Texas youth football league, Peyton Watson, 10, is known for her toughness.

She gets it from a woman battling a much more difficult opponent.

A wide receiver and defensive back for her team in the Fraternity of One youth league in Katy, near Houston, Peyton has been inspired by her grandmother's fight against breast cancer.

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"My mom would always call Peyton her tough girl,'' her mother, Tracy Watson, told TODAY. "But Peyton tells her, 'No, you're really the tough one.'''

Peyton's grandmother, Linda Crisp, was diagnosed in 2010.

Watching her battle the disease made Peyton want to do more than just catch touchdowns and make tackles on the field.

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Peyton, whose story is the latest installment of TODAY's "Together We Make Football" series with the NFL, has supported her grandmother's fight by selling specially designed "TUFF GIRL" T-shirts.

The money goes to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where she is being treated.

Peyton raised close to $3,000 with her T-shirt drive.

"Peyton's a very loving person,'' Crisp told TODAY. "And if she could hold your hand and make everything okay, that's what she wants to do, and I think that's the way she felt with me."

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For her efforts, Peyton received a surprise when the Houston Texans hosted an assembly at her school.

Star defensive lineman J.J. Watt, her favorite player, called her up to let her know she is one of five finalists eligible to win a trip to Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, on Feb. 7 as part of the "Together We Make Football" series.

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"For somebody of your age to care so much about other people — it's awesome,'' Watt said. "It's inspiring. Keep doing what you're doing. You're gonna change the world."

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.