Drew Brees became involved in the lives of inspiring friends Brian McKenna and Jackson Smith last year, thanks to a pair of cardboard cutouts.
Last week, the New Orleans Saints quarterback reunited with the duo in person on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" for an episode that aired Monday.
Smith is a former Marine officer who served in Afghanistan. And while he was away in 2010, McKenna found a way to get Brees to pose for a picture with a cardboard cutout of Smith for a scrapbook his friends and family made for him.
Five years later, McKenna was paralyzed from the neck down in a biking accident. And Smith returned the favor by tracking down Brees to pose for a cardboard cutout of McKenna.
After Smith shared the story, Brees, his wife Brittany and Ellen DeGeneres have gotten to know the two men and have made donations to McKenna’s care -- including another $20,000 donation from Brees and his wife last week.
McKenna was able to make the trip to the show after being removed from a ventilator two months ago.
“Honestly, I’ve been so inspired by their journey and, really, their friendship,” Brees said. “And to be intertwined the way that we have throughout that journey has really been incredible.”