Peyton Manning hosts fan with Stage 4 cancer at Broncos' season opener

Joe Amon/The Denver Post/Getty Images

Despite donning the orange and blue of the Denver Broncos, Peyton Manning remains revered in Indianapolis.

Fourteen seasons, 11 playoff berths and one Super Bowl victory will elevate you to near immortality within a fan base that had grown accustomed to losing. But aside from his on-field exploits, Manning endeared himself to the community with his charitable acts off of it.

That still holds true regardless of his ZIP code, as Manning's latest act of benevolence was to fly a dying fan out to Denver for the Broncos' Week 1 contest against Baltimore.

According to The Indianapolis Star, Kari Barnett Bollig, a longtime Colts fan with Stage 4 breast cancer, reached out to Manning to offer her plaudits for his play and off-field behavior.

His response was more than she ever imagined.

"I just thought, 'Well shoot. I'm going to write him a letter and tell him how much he inspires me, not just because he's a football player, but for what he does off the field," Bollig said, via The Star.

Bollig was soon contacted with word that she would be traveling to Denver -- as Manning's guest -- and treated to two days with the Broncos, watching team photos and practice, then attending Sunday's game complete with sideline passes.

"It was very personal. It was very heartfelt, and I never thought anything of it other than I wrote it and sent it," she said in The Star. "I didn't even know he would get it.

"I kind of stammered and stuttered around. And then I said, 'Are you kidding me?'"

Bollig also got to meet Manning, who reportedly spent about 10 minutes with her and her husband.

"It was real easy and laid back, not at all nervewracking," she said. "He's welcoming. He's like a gentle giant. It was such a personal moment. It was a once in a lifetime thing."

"It was so sweet because he shakes my hand and says, 'I'm Peyton Manning.' It was cute. It was kind of like, 'I know who you are, Peyton.' "

Manning, who Bollig says inspires her in her fight, received some words of encouragement from No. 18 before the end of the meeting:

"Keep fighting, Kari. I'll be praying for you."

Check out the Star's piece for more on Bollig's meeting with Manning.