October 02, 2019
Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty celebrated his first birthday last week and is currently in Europe with the team for its season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.
Back home in Philly, one of Gritty's biggest fans sent him a letter from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Three-year-old Jack Callahan, originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, is at CHOP receiving treatment for cancer. He's become a huge fan of the orange mascot during his time in Philadelphia.
Over the weekend, Jack's uncle, Ryan Callahan, shared a copy of the dictated letter on Instagram.
Jack turns four on Oct. 30 and is hoping he'll have a chance to meet Gritty, who received word of the letter and reposted it on his own account.
Already, Ardmore bakery Delice et Chocolat and Crust Vegan Bakery in Philadelphia have reached out with offers to bring Jack his own Gritty-themed cake.
The Flyers will be back in the United States next week for their home opener against the New Jersey Devils. That leaves Gritty most of a month to figure out how to help Jack celebrate his fourth birthday.
Jack's uncle thanked everyone who reached out to him on Instagram and helped get the post the attention it deserved.
"Our hope is that in 10, 15, 25 years from now, Jack will be able to look back and see all the goodness that came from this awful disease and all the love that exists in the world," Callahan wrote.
View this post on Instagram
I can’t believe how much love and support came from yesterday’s post about Jack’s letter to @grittynhl. Jack’s world has been flipped upside down in inexplicable ways because of cancer. But one thing the last 8 months has reminded us is the generosity and goodness that lives in nearly all people. To everyone who sent a message, commented, or tagged Gritty on social media, thank you so much. We’ve read every comment and will read these to Jack as well. Our hope is that in 10, 15, 25 years from now, Jack will be able to look back and see all the goodness that came from this awful disease and all the love that exists in the world. Special thanks to @grittyphilly for reposting Jack’s letter and giving it the momentum it has received. Here is a photo of Jack from a few weeks ago while he was between cycles and doing one of his favorite things: sitting on his grandpa’s lap and and being a goofy 3 year old. Because while cancer is terrible and scary and sad, Jack likes to do the same things we all want to do: be close with loved ones and laugh.
A post shared by Ryan Callahan (@ryanhcallahan) on