Being a journalist now for 33 years (where did the time go?), I'm more freely admitting that as detached from raw, emotional stories I try to be, I often have a difficult time not taking those stories home with me. From stories reported on Carson Tinker/Ashley Harrison, Natalie Bunn, Brad & Br0oke Franklin, Kevin Turner, John Mark Stallings, The Big Oak Ranch, Pat Sullivan, Gene Bartow, the April 2011 tornado and others, I continue to prove that I'm human afterall, and that's a good thing. The latest story that has touched me will air Thursday night at 10:10 and again Saturday at 10 am on Fox6.
A year ago, little Mikey Crossley was a happy, healthy 5-year old from Nashville. Mikey was also one of the biggest Alabama football fans in America. Today, Mikey is no longer with us after losing his fight. Mikey was diagnosed 10 months ago with a deadly DIPG brain tumor, and while he fought the good fight, he died on September 12th.
During his fight, Mikey and his parents, Crece and Terry Anglin, learned that the human spirit and the gift of giving are thriving. After learning of his illness, several Alabama football players called Crece and Terry to tell them they were thinking of their son. As Mikey's days wound down, Nick Saban picked up the phone and called Crece and Terry. Mikey was comatose, but Crece tells me that when Mikey heard Saban's voice, her son's heart rate jumped from 110 beats per minute to over 130. Soon afterwards, Mikey was gone, perhaps knowing that his wish- hearing from Coach Saban- was fulfilled.
Last week I travelled to Nashville to hear the Anglins talk bravely about little Mikey. Just last night, Bama players such as Barrett Jones and Carson Tinker talked with us about how special Mikey was to them.
The next time you think that a big, bad football player near you is a mere robot in headgear, think of Vinnie Sunseri dedicating the season to Mikey. Think of Vinnie being so broken up about Mikey's passing that he didn't have it in him to talk with us on camera... Think of Nick Saban as a man that can be short and tempermental, but also a man that be passionate... Think of the Anglin's pain and the joy brought to them by a few of their heroes reaching out.
The Mikey Crossley story will be on Fox6 News At Ten tonight (should hit about 10:10 ct). As always, I'll do my best to present the story as profesionally as I can. But remember that some stories remain with reporters for years. This is one I'll not soon forget.