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Boy leads football team onto field as a Husker

Posted at 10:33 PM, Nov 19, 2016
A big win for the Huskers Saturday is also a big win for an 8-year-old Norfolk boy suffering from a life-threatening condition. 
 
Jack Johnson’s wish to become a Husker football player came true. 
 
It has been the week of a lifetime for Jack who suffers from Menke’s disease, which is often fatal by 3-years-old and affects copper levels in the body. 
 
Every day is a miracle for Jack, who suffers from an extremely rare form of Menkes.
 
He and his younger brother Myles are possibly the only two in the world with the specific strain they have, said their dad Eric Johnson. 
 
Saturday, Jack led his favorite team through the tunnel onto the field in Memorial Stadium. 
 
"Jack’s touched us a lot,” said Safety Nate Gerry. “We've only known him for four days but he's touched a lot of us. He's put a perspective for a lot of us too. It's pretty cool to see him smile and his brothers and they run around a lot. It's pretty sweet." 
 
Jack signed his letter of intent to play for the huskers Tuesday and on Thursday he held his first press conference as an official teammate. 
 
Friday, Jack practiced with the team and had his own personal training coach. 
 
"He feels like he is part of that program,” said Eric Johnson. “The players, I can't tell you how amazing the three days were, their love and support of him and including him in everything that they did."
 
The 8-year-old Husker was often overwhelmed by the experience and said little on camera, but his dad says he opened up to the huskers. 
 
"Some of those guys, he got really, really close to,” said Eric Johnson. “They were just incredible, like big brothers to him. He would sit down with them and talk with them about football. We talked about Tommy Armstrong. The Saints lost on Thursday night and Jack was giving him a hard time about it.”
 
While the Johnson’s often describe the experience as 'unbelievable', Jack left an impression on the players. 
 
"He was front and center in their minds,” Eric Johnson said. “They're thanking us as I'm trying to thank them for everything. It was a great experience." 
 
The experience is possible through the Nebraska Make-A-Wish Foundation.
 
"Pretty much anybody that you ask, 'can you help with this?' and they say 'yes' it shows what an incredible caring community we have in Omaha, Norfolk, Nebraska in general,” said Brigette Young, president of the Nebraska chapter. “It's just amazing how many people came together to make this wish happen." 
 
Jack and Myles, 6, are exceptionally high functioning compared to many other kids suffering from the disease.
 
Both boys take normal classes at Norfolk Catholic School.