The Cleveland Browns provided an unforgettable moment to five-year-old cancer survivor Ryan Encinas and the 24,131 fans in attendance at the annual Family Night practice at FirstEnergy Stadium on Saturday, allowing Encinas to run into the end zone for a touchdown.
Encinas, who was diagnosed with Pleuropulmonary Blastoma (PPB) two years ago, attended training camp earlier in the week after being referred to the Browns by nonprofit organization The Littlest Heroes.
His mother, Angela Bosic, said the five-year-old still has three years remaining in which he will require a full-body scan every three months. PPB has a nearly 80-percent recurrence rate.
“To be at that stadium and having everyone yelling his name, yelling for him and cheering him on, I can’t imagine,” said Robert Encinas, Ryan’s father. “There’s nothing that he’s afraid of. He’s so happy to meet anybody and everybody. (The Littlest Heroes) thought that would be the perfect fit, a boy that would be excited and thrilled, not scared, and very outgoing.”The Nebraska football team gave a similar opportunity to a seven-year-old in April.
“My favorite part was when he asked one of the players to race him and he took off racing down the field,” Angela Bozic, Ryan’s mother, said. “I don’t know if you can comprehend how amazing that is. This is a kid who underwent all that treatment, who suffered surgery that left him with half of a lung on his left side, who has undergone so much. It’s amazing.”