PITTSBURGH -- Carson Boyle is such a Ben Roethlisberger fanatic that he once designed a "Ben Roethlisturkey" for a school holiday arts and crafts project. He collected football cards and scouted the Pittsburgh Steelers while other kids played in the snow.
Fittingly, when he got his hands on a set of signed Roethlisberger cleats last week, the 9-year-old protected them like a left tackle.
“He wouldn’t let hotel room service in our room,” said Jennifer Boyle, Carson’s mother.
The Boyle family, from Minersville, Pennsylvania, visited the Steelers last week thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Last November, Carson was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. After several surgeries, Carson has been cancer-free since January, but for a few more years, there’s a one-in-three chance the cancer will surface in his lymph nodes.
Carson’s wish was obvious to those who know him -- meet Roethlisberger. So a limo transported the Boyles to the Steelers facility, where they met the coaches and players. They spent about 20 minutes with Roethlisberger, who had signed cleats waiting for Carson.
Wanted to share these photos from the family of 9-year-old cancer survivor Carson Boyle, who caps a strong year of recovery with something he's wanted all his life - a chance to hang with Big Ben. He made a new friend in DeAngelo Williams, too. The trip to the Steelers facility last week felt like "a really happy ending" to a long fight, Carson told his mom, Jennifer.
“To Carson, there’s nothing bigger than meeting him and getting something autographed,” Jennifer said. “He literally couldn’t even speak. He was speechless. The look on his face, he was just in total amazement that he was there. [Ben] was really, really nice.”
Carson did muster the courage to ask a few questions about Roethlisberger’s favorite team growing up (49ers) and his favorite player (Jerry Rice). Roethlisberger signed autographs for Carson's brothers, too.
Running back DeAngelo Williams also stopped to talk with Carson for a while. Make-A-Wish had told the Boyles that Williams -- an outspoken breast cancer awareness advocate -- was great with kids.
“He spent probably as much time as Ben Roethlisberger,” Jennifer said. “Carson was shy, so he said, ‘Well, let me ask you some questions?’ Carson definitely started to warm up after that.”
After a rough few months of treatment, Carson is healthy and living happily, especially after this weekend, which included tickets to the Steelers-Browns game.
“He said this was kind of like a storybook -- it had a really rough beginning and a really happy ending,” Jennifer said.