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An elderly couple, a man on the football field and a signed jersey (inset)

Jason Kelce Helps Grieving Family Fulfill Mom's Last Wish

6abc Action News

Dying Woman Has One Last Wish - And Her "Young Boyfriend" Fulfills It

The recently retired player helped this family come to terms with their mom’s death.

It’s always hard to lose a loved one, but sometimes the kindness of others and the power of community can really help to make a grieving person feel less alone. That was definitely the case for this family when the kindness of strangers helped them make their mom’s final wish come true.

A Life-Long Sports Fan

Woman in a Philadelphia Eagles sweater posing for photo with her family

Woman in a Philadelphia Eagles sweater posing for photo with her family

Action News 6/YouTube

Mary Lou Carey was a huge Philadelphia sports fan. In fact, her love of football was so strong that her family always knew her to have the game on, watching as she cheered or yelled at the refs. Carey loved former Eagles center Jason Kelce in particular.

“She called him her young boyfriend,” the woman’s daughter, Jill Carey, recalled to Action News 6.

Unfortunately, Carey recently battled an illness that didn’t leave her with much time left. She and her family began talking about Carey’s wishes for what would happen when she died, and at one point Carey wondered out loud what she would wear for the funeral.

Jill’s sister joked that she could wear her Jason Kelce jersey, and it spurred an unexpected reaction.

“At this point she was kind of sleeping a lot, not saying much, and she got the biggest smile on her face, her eyes popped wide open, and she said, 'Yes, I love him!'” Jill explained.

Going Out on a Limb

Knowing how much it would mean to their mother, the family wanted to do something special for Carey and get Kelce to sign her jersey before her celebration of life. They knew it was a long shot, but they turned to social media and asked Facebook friends and followers for help.

The post was simple: Did anyone have contact with their mom’s favorite player so they could get the jersey signed? They were touched when people, including two pro athletes, immediately jumped into the comments to help.

The Kindness of Strangers

Before long, the family was asked to send the jersey to Kelce’s house for a signature. They knew their mom didn’t have much time, so they let her in on the plan.

“She smiled and she said, 'Really?' I said, 'Yeah Mom.' And she said, 'For me?' And I said, 'Yeah.' She just smiled,” Jill said.

Unfortunately, Carey passed away on April 6, but the family received the jersey back just in time for the funeral. It brought them joy during an otherwise dark time, and they say they have the kindness of strangers and one very special NFL superstar to thank for it.

“He's all about the fans and the community. He goes the extra mile, and that's why everyone loves him,” Jill added.

The Power of Community

It can be hard to lean on community during times of grief, but this story reminds us just how powerful and important community can be. The kindness of strangers and a community coming together brought Carey’s final wish to Kelce’s attention and gave him the opportunity to fulfill it.

It’s a nice reminder to participate in our own communities where we can, whether that’s helping someone in a Facebook group or physically going out into the community to volunteer, coach, or organize an event.

This story also reminds us to never be afraid to ask for help, even if it seems like a long shot. When you put it out there, you’re at least giving yourself a chance. Plus, as this story proves, you just never know who might come through.

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