15-year-old cancer survivor has 'dream come true' as sideline reporter at Broncos-Packers

DENVER -- A year ago the future was a question mark as Daniel Hailpern waited for a bone marrow transplant to treat the rare form of leukemia he was battling.

Now Hailpern, closing in on the year anniversary of the medical procedure that saved his life, was to be on the sidelines Sunday night for the prime-time game between the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers.

“This is as good as it gets,’’ Hailpern, 15, said. “I’m just going to try to suck it all in. Just be there and enjoy it. It’s unbelievable, a dream come true.’’

Hailpern, who spent nine months as a patient at Children’s Hospital Colorado, does “The DPR Show’’ each week. The show is NFL-themed and broadcast -- on Channel 45 on the televisions inside the hospital’s complex -- to all of the hospital’s rooms.

Several Broncos players, including linebackers Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall as well as wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, have been guests on the show and Davis called it “a great, great time.’’

Sunday night, Hailpern was the guest of Andy Lindahl, the sideline reporter for the Broncos’ flagship radio station, KOA. Hailpern was slated to work alongside Lindahl for the first half of Sunday’s game and watch the second half with family members in the stands at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Asked after he arrived to the stadium Sunday if he could have imagined standing a few yards from the likes of Thomas, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning, Hailpern said: “Absolutely no, absolutely no, maybe being up in the seats, but never on the sideline during a game, never on the sideline during a game between the Broncos and Packers. Being on the sideline at all is way super amazing, but with Broncos and Packers, my two favorite teams, it’s even more than that.’’

Hailpern will have a procedure Monday where doctors will perform a bone marrow biopsy to gauge his recovery. He has returned to school these days and his mother Nadine said his list of medications is down to “next to nothing.’’

“My one year [anniversary] since my transplant, so they just want to make sure everything is good,’’ Hailpern said. “The procedure itself takes like three minutes at most -- it takes a while to wake up, but you pretty much get up after 20 minutes and leave. But [Sunday] is going to be a part of the show the next week, for sure. Oh, we’re going to talk about this.’’