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Thursday, July 14, 2011
McNabb and 'My Wish,' Five years later

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

I don't know if you, as I do, remember this "SportsCenter" My Wish story from five years ago about Charlie Pena, the kid with sickle cell anemia who got to be an honorary "coach" for the Eagles for a day. We have a follow-up piece today, checking in with Charlie five years later, and he's apparently doing quite well in spite of having had to have a bone marrow transplant about a year after the "SportsCenter" item ran.

It also appears as though Donovan McNabb, then with the Eagles, now with the Redskins and soon to be who-knows-where, continued to check in on Charlie as he went through the transplant and the difficult ensuing recovery. This story is about how much McNabb's post-op phone call meant to Charlie, who's undoubtedly as big a McNabb fan as there is in the world at this point.

There's not a lot to say on this. It's a great story about people being nice to each other -- the kind of story, sadly, that doesn't get a lot of attention in today's sports news landscape. It shows McNabb at his ultra-classy best, and reminds us that there are things more important than whether a quarterback hits his receivers on the numbers every time or refuses to wear a wristband to help him call plays. We get caught up in what goes on on the field, but the impact these guys can have on lives off the field can sometimes be tremendous.