Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Sports

August 9, 2013

Colts: Colts long snapper creates unique friendship with teen cancer patient

(Continued)

He'd visited the hospital for the first time during the holiday season and come away amazed. He outbid another guest for the tickets, but he only had half a suite.

When his one-time opponent learned what Overton planned to do with the tickets, he partnered with his own charity to donate the other half of the suite. The Riley Kids selected to attend learned about the tickets at the end of a tour of the Colts' practice facility when they were surprised by the long snapper, team mascot Blue and the team's cheerleaders.

Mia was on that tour, but she was readmitted to Riley on July 8 when she had a relapse. Her sister, Olivia, attended the concert in her place but received a distressing Twitter message during the show asking that she come to the hospital immediately. Mia wasn't expected to live through the night.

"We were all at the bedside," Keri Benge said. "It was moment to moment." Overton accompanied Liv down to the waiting car. Then he followed Mia's story throughout the night on Twitter. When he learned the girl had survived, Liv invited him to visit the Intensive Care Unit for the first time on July 12.

"We're just beyond blessed to have her still with us, and she's been an inspiration for a ton of people," Overton said. "When I visited the ICU, that unit that she was in was the sickest kids in Indiana. When I first visited, the nurses said, 'We hardly see miracles like this happen.' And she really has been a miracle."

* * *

Overton continued visiting Mia every chance he got. They played a game they made up involving a beach ball. And they jammed to Bieber in the room. Keri said the interaction was good for Mia. It made the girl forget she was in the hospital, forget she was fighting for her life, and simply look

forward to the next visit.

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