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Favre wears towel to honor sick Wisconsin child

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Associated Press
December 23, 2010
— Brett Favre's abbreviated comeback against the Chicago Bears on Monday night included a tribute to a terminally ill Wisconsin boy whose distinct penmanship forged a bond with the NFL legend.

The Vikings quarterback wore a towel during the game at TCF Bank Stadium with a backward No. 4 printed on it in honor of Anderson Butzine, a 5-year-old boy Favre and his wife, Deanna, visited in a hospital last week.


Anderson has a tumor at the base of his brain and writes his 4s backward. Despite five surgeries and numerous radiation treatments the past four years, the tumor continues to grow, according to his mother, Michelle.


On Dec. 17 the Favres flew to Oconomowoc, Wis., 35 miles west of Milwaukee, and spent about three hours with Anderson and his family.


"Our visit was perfect, and Brett and Deanna Favre are simply amazing," Michelle Butzine said in a statement.


Favre originally had been ruled out of Monday's game because of a shoulder injury, but was activated just before kickoff. After learning her husband would start against the Bears, Deanna Favre sent the towel with the backward 4 to him in the locker room.


Favre said after the game coach Leslie Frazier excused him from Friday's practice so he and his wife could visit Anderson.


"Great family. Packer fans, and kind of a conflicting household because this young man, Anderson, had become a Vikings fan, as well," Favre said. "But he, since the brain tumor, had started writing his 4s backwards. And so right before the game, Deanna sent this towel down with this backwards 4, knowing that I knew what that would be about. That was in honor of him."


Favre completed 5 of 7 passes for 63 yards and a touchdown with an interception before suffering a concussion early in the second quarter when he was slammed to the turf. His status for this week's game at Philadelphia is uncertain, and Favre must pass a baseline neurological examination before doctors can consider clearing him to play.


The Favres' surprise visit the week before Christmas brightened the spirits of the Butzine family, which chronicled the encounter on Anderson's CaringBridge web page.


A 3 1/2 -minute video posted on YouTube shows Favre posing for photographs with Anderson, who is wearing Packers pajamas and Vikings socks.


"We're so happy to tell others about our special day and hope that anyone who doesn't know it already will come to know how truly kind and loving Brett and Deanna are," Michelle wrote. "We can't thank them enough. Thanks to each of you for keeping Anderson and our family in your thoughts and prayers."



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