At 6 years old, Hayden Backes has been through more than most kids his age.
He was diagnosed with Klinefelter syndrome, a rare generic disorder, soon after he was born.
Among other issues, the disorder makes him more likely to develop brain tumors.
Doctors found one behind his eye when he was 3 and he’s currently undergoing his second round of therapy for it.
“The hardest part was feeling like he’s had enough, he’s dealt with enough,” said his mom, Jennifer.
The family began going to Colorado every few months for check-ups and MRIs with Hayden’s doctor there.
Jennifer believes that’s when Hayden’s “love affair” with the Broncos began.
“Hayden’s been a Denver fan since he was three,” she said.
Last December, after learning Hayden needed to go through chemo yet again, the family received a welcome distraction.
They met Broncos players Antonio Smith and Sylvester Williams during the players’ visit to the Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Williams is a St. Louis native and graduated from Jefferson City High School.
After a day of hanging out at the hospital, Williams invited the little Broncos fan to their next practice, as long as he was brave during his MRI and a minor surgery.
A few days later, Hayden got to take the field with his favorite team and meet his heroes.
Jennifer said they still hear from Williams from time to time.
“He’s got a heart of gold,” said Jennifer. “He’s checked in with my husband Dustin several times since we’ve been out there in December just to see how Hayden’s doing and just to make sure that we know that he and the players are thinking about him.”
His mother said they’ll definitely be cheering on the Broncos Sunday.
“We’re hoping for a win tomorrow,” said Jennifer. “Nothing would make me happier than for those guys that have shown so much kindness and so much compassion to Hayden to get their big victory.”
Because of his condition, Hayden will probably undergo several more rounds of chemotherapy. But his family continues to remain positive and Hayden continues his treatment in the best of spirits.