Dear Denver Broncos,
On June 29, 2013 my brother Mark passed away unexpectedly at the age of 41. Yes, he died young but that is only a small piece of Mark’s story. Mark was born with Cerebral Palsy in Texas in 1971. My parents relocated to Denver soon after he was born so he could receive the best care available from the Children’s Hospital of Denver. Though he was never supposed to speak, Mark defied the odds and often we couldn't get him to be quiet. Mark was one of the most joyful people I have ever met despite the physical limitations he faced each day.
One of the things that truly brought excitement into his life was his love for football. Mark was a lifelong Broncos fan and often placed bets with my Dad that went unpaid if he lost. For Mark football was something he could be a part of if only as a fan, but your team truly was a big part of his life.
Sadly, Mark died before this football season began but I know he was in Heaven cheering and screaming louder than he did on Earth. During some games I was convinced he may have been running right alongside of you, something he could have never done during his life. At the beginning of the season I told my husband (a devout 49ers fan, I love him anyway) that this was going to be the year the Broncos won the Super Bowl, for my brother. With each win he would just laugh and brush me off, but sure enough you made it all the way.
Going into Sunday’s game I just knew you would be Super Bowl winners. There was no doubt in my mind. But quickly it became clear that this was not the Broncos year. I was sad. I was heartbroken for my brother. But then I thought about what my brother would have done. He would have been upset for a moment but quickly he would get over it and begin looking forward to the next season. I am simply writing you this letter for two reasons: one, to say thank you. Thank you for playing your heart out. Thank you for going out there every game and putting on a show. And, second, don’t let your loss define you. Lick your wounds and move on. Do it for yourself and do it for fans like Mark. A guy who quietly watched from the sidelines, but whose life was changed for the better because of you.
Thank you, Broncos. I will be watching and cheering in Mark’s memory.
Fan for Life,
P.S. Attached is a photo of Mark that captures his joy perfectly. Enjoy!