“One, two, three - Keep Pounding!” shouts 13-year-old Trey as he huddles around members of the Carolina Panthers pumping them up after a successful day of practice. Since he was young, the “Keep Pounding” mantra has always rung through Trey’s ears. However, after Trey was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, this simple phrase meant even more to him - it gave him the strength to keep fighting.
Friends and family members describe Trey as a crazy sports fanatic knowing everything he can about a variety of different sports - especially football. “He loves it, he breathes it, lives it, sleeps it,” says Trey’s father. So when it came time for Trey’s wish, he was able to step out of his life for a day and become a professional NFL player for the Carolina Panthers. It was something Trey had imagined for years. “He would sit in that room during his treatments with his buddies, and they would daydream what it’s going to be like, who they were going to meet, and what he thought it would entail,” says Trey’s mom. The thought of becoming a Carolina Panther helped Trey get through his difficult treatments and gave him something to look forward to.
Finally, the day that Trey had imagined for so long arrived. When he and his family arrived at the Bank of America Stadium, Trey was asked to sign a one-day contract complete with a signing bonus of his favorite candy. He truly felt like part of the team while getting ready in the locker room with his very own personalized jersey. After Trey was all geared up, he walked out to the field with one of his favorite players: linebacker Shaq Thompson. The moment he stepped on the field, Trey’s nerves set aside and he immediately fit in. He spent the afternoon learning plays, running drills, and catching and throwing balls with his new teammates. Practice wrapped up with Trey shouting the “Keep Pounding” mantra in the huddle. “The guys have embraced him like he’s one of them,” says Trey’s mom. It was a day Trey had only ever been able to imagine but now was a reality, a day Trey and his family will remember forever. For more on Trey's story, check out this video