Indianapolis Colts fan Danny Webber to enjoy his final game
5:59 AM, Sep. 21, 2012 | Written by Phillip B. Wilson |
Indianapolis Colts fan Danny Webber and Heritage House activity director Myranda Hartwell show off Webber’s Colts pillow in his room at the senior community in Greensburg, Ind. (Heritage House photo)
Danny Webber has never seen Lucas Oil Stadium and can’t wait to attend Sunday’s Colts-Jaguars game.
It won’t be the first time he’s seen the Colts. The 74-year-old fan from Knightstown, Ind., used to cheer his favorite team at the RCA Dome. His love of the franchise dates back to the 1950s.
But this game will be different.
“This one will be very special …” Webber said in a Thursday phone interview.
His voice cracked with emotion as he tried to finish the sentence.
“… because this will be the last one I ever see.”
Webber is stricken with terminal cancer. Six years ago, it was in his prostate gland. Last December, it had reached the lungs. In the last week, he learned the disease had spread to his spleen.
He’s a resident at Heritage House, a senior community in Greensburg, Ind. A new program, Heritage House Dreams, has made it possible for Webber’s last wish to be granted. A Heritage House friend donated the Colts tickets.
“He’s one of the first dreams we’re helping to fulfill,” said activity director Myranda Hartwell, who will join Webber along with her husband, Doug. “You can see how much better it makes him feel.”
Her, too. It reinforces why the job is so important. For co-workers, too, who also consider Webber one of their favorite residents.
“He has a lot of Colts stuff in his room,” Hartwell said, “and he always greets you with a smile and a handshake.”
He enjoys cooking his homemade macaroni and cheese for the staff when he’s not sweetening them up by offering candy. One of Webber’s favorite phrases is to remind his helpers, “I love you all like a hog loves slop.”
He’s been married to his wife, Ramona, for 39 years, and they had five children. The U.S. Navy veteran made a living as a sewing machine mechanic.
His face will be painted in blue and white to fulfill a promise made to Hartwell. This guy does what he says he’s going to do. He would love to land rookie quarterback Andrew Luck’s autograph. Webber admires the No. 1 overall pick’s intelligence and suggests Luck eventually could be better than four-time NFL MVP quarterback Peyton Manning.
After hearing how Luck is special, Hartwell makes an instantaneous comparison.
“That’s Danny, too,” she said. “He is the one person you meet who is special. It doesn’t take you long to figure that out.”
Webber doesn’t mince words about his situation. A man in his situation is entitled to be blunt.
“When you’re dying and there’s no cure, what choice do you have?” he said, when asked about his quality of life.
His daily goal is simple.
“If I can put my feet on the floor in the morning, it’s a start,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I’ll finish the day, but it’s a start.”
Asked how much time he thinks he has, Webber said, “Only God knows that.”
If certain of anything, it’s his prediction for a Colts victory.
When the Colts learned of Webber’s story Friday, they were quick to give the dying fan a seat upgrade. Instead of sitting high above in section 531, Webber and his two friends will enjoy pregame sideline access as well as VIP admittance to the club lounge. When the game starts, they will have one of the best views from section 135, seats 5-7, in the handicap accessible area.
Sunday definitely won’t be just another game.
“Oh boy,” he said. “It’s a highlight of my life.”
(Founded in 1966, Heritage House is a provider of short and long-term healthcare, therapy and rehabilitation services with locations in New Castle, Greensburg, Richmond and Shelbyville. The Heritage House Dreams initiative’s motto is “Everyone has a right to pursue their dreams, no matter their age or medical condition.” If you know of a Heritage House resident with an unfulfilled life dream, call 765-529-2961.)