Olsen helps fan get through tough times

Olsen, fan form special bond

Note: You can help the McGuire family offset medial expenses by visiting Help Hope Live.

CHARLOTTE - Tom and Tommy McGuire had been planning the trip for nearly a year.

"We've been planning this trip since around December," said 24-year-old Tommy from the field before the Panthers game against Buffalo. "The ride down yesterday wasn't too bad, about 10 hours."

The pair hit the road this weekend from New York to Charlotte.

Dad is a Bills fan. Son? That didn't work out.

"He made the mistake of buying me a hat when I was younger that I don't think I took off for two years," Tommy said, "and ever since then I've been a Panthers fan."

When Tommy was little they even came down for a game.

"He stuck with the Panthers," Tom said, "and I'll stick with the Panthers today for him but that's it."

Tommy was a football fan and a football star growing up outside New York City. He was an all section quarterback at Clarkstown South high school before attending Manhattan College.

Three weeks after his graduation Tommy was paralyzed from the chest down in a diving accident in May 2016.

Sunday was Tommy's first big trip. He knew he had to make it to Charlotte.

"I've never been this close," Tommy said during warmups. "I got to see a couple of the d-linemen warm up in front of me. I saw KK Short which was cool."

Tommy only recently got out of the hospital, where his room was adorned in Panthers Black and Blue.

Through a mutual connection a few months ago Tommy got to have a conversation with one of his favorites -- tight end Greg Olsen.

"It was cool, he face timed me a couple of months ago for about five minutes," Tommy said, "watching football from his couch, talking to me, he's a really great guy."

And on Sunday he got to meet Olsen face to face, as the Panther took a photo with Tommy.

Tommy says he might even be back this year for the Packers game and of course has a season prediction.

"Twelve-and-four. Division Title," he said. 

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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