Brooklynn Reiter keeps overcoming any obstacle that is thrown her way – especially eight brain surgeries.
She gets strength from football.
The 8-year-old from the Myrtle Beach, S.C., area is often sitting next to her dad, John, watching their beloved Oakland Raiders.
She especially has her eyes on her favorite Raiders player: Derek Carr.
Decked out with her Raiders apparel and pom-poms, Brooklynn cheers on Carr and the Raiders when they play.
Carr returned the favor last week, sending her a letter and an autographed picture wishing her well.
“Now you are my #1 HERO!” Carr wrote.
“I was about to scream because he actually signed it and I liked it,” Brooklynn said in a telephone interview. “I jumped up and down.”
Her dad is a lifelong Raiders fan. She became a Raiders fan at an early age and had a Darren McFadden jersey, just like her dad.
“She got to a point when someone would get ready to hike the ball or coming out of the huddle, her feet would start kicking.,” he said. “When she got older, she would watch the game with me more and more. One day she looked at me and said, ‘I love the Raiders, too.’ It just took off from there.”
She pays close attention when Carr gets sacked – she doesn’t want him to get hurt, and especially worries about head injuries.
Brooklynn worries because she has an incurable brain condition called hydrocephalus, a buildup of cerebral fluid that can put pressure on the brain. She has a shunt to drain the fluid, but when it fails, she needs surgery, the latest before Thanksgiving.
“I’m always scared,” she said of her concern for Carr, “if he gets admitted to the hospital or broke a part of his body.”
Carr aimed to calm her fears in his letter.
“Don’t you worry about me,” Carr wrote. “When I get hit, it is usually not that hard.” (Carr put in a smiley face at the end.)
Brooklynn was one of two selected as the 2019 National Ambassador of Hydrocephalus Awareness for the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation. Brooklynn and her family will be going to Washington, D.C., in August to meet with two senators and a congressman.
Carr wished Brooklynn well on her trip to Washington and concluded, “Keep fighting the fight and know that #4 is your biggest fan!”