In each of the Eagles’ first six games of the season, Carson Wentz played with a green jelly bracelet around his left wrist.
Inscribed on it is Lukas Kusters’ nickname, “The Dutch Destroyer.”
Wentz has no plans to take off the memento from his May 30 meeting with Kusters, a young boy who had been battling muscular cancer.
An upcoming segment of “SC Featured” recalls Kusters’ emotional visit with Wentz and the Eagles in late May. It airs 9 a.m. Sunday during SportsCenter on ESPN and before the Eagles host the Redskins on Monday night.
After he met the young boy, Wentz posted a picture of himself, Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks and Lukas, as well as a lengthy caption in which Wentz wrote about the touching experience. The first thing Lukas had done when they met was give Wentz the bracelet.
“Lukas is 9 years old and is battling a tumor and cancer and things aren’t looking great,” Wentz wrote at the time. “It’s kids like this who inspire me. This kid has been a fighter for a year and a half and has never given up hope.”
Lukas would lose his cancer battle on June 11.
“I just knew that it was something that I’d never forget. It’s crazy,” Wentz said of the meeting in a short trailer for the segment.
Lukas was a die-hard Eagles fan who turned his bedroom into a makeshift shrine to his favorite team, complete with a Wentz jersey from his college days at North Dakota State, according to ESPN. He had played football since the age of 6, and dreamed of playing at the college level with the University of Tennessee.
When cancer first landed Lukas in the hospital, Wentz had sent the young boy a personal video, wishing him well.
The belief was that Lukas had beaten the muscular cancer that was originally confined to his stomach, but an end-of-treatment scan revealed that the cancer had returned. Things went quickly downhill from there. The social worker recommended focusing on Lukas’ Make-A-Wish so they didn’t miss the opportunity.
“And you know what he said to me when I talked to him about it?” his mom, Rebecca, said. “I said, ‘Look, buddy, let’s think of something good and positive and happy right now. Let’s think about your wish and what you could do.’ And he said to me, ‘Mom, I just want to thank Carson.’ That was his wish. His wish was just to thank Carson for the video he sent him.”
He got much more than that. The Eagles had a limo pick him up to bring him to the practice facility, where he was greeted by head coach Doug Pederson. He was quickly connected with Wentz and linebacker Jordan Hicks, who spent hours with Lukas, taking him through the locker room, introducing him to players before getting a bite to eat. Wentz even made a smoothie for him in the team cafeteria.
Lukas’ mother also described what went through her mind when she saw Wentz take the field in the Eagles’ season-opener last month.
“The first game for me was difficult. It was my first game without Lukas. It was emotional,” she told the network. “And then we saw Carson walk out with that bracelet on his wrist. And it just meant the world.
“I cannot even begin to describe to you the pride I felt when I saw that, both for the fact that Lukas’ memory is being kept alive, but the pride in Carson and the person that he is.”