Super Bowl wish comes true for man with terminal illness - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Super Bowl wish comes true for man with terminal illness

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – It's a huge weekend for sports fans – Super Bowl Sunday.

For one family in Wilmington, a trip to the big game will be a dream come true and a distraction from a deadly disease that has plagued their leader.

Thanks to a fundraiser from the community, enough money was raised for Keith Kopka and his wife Megan to go to the Super Bowl in NY/NJ for the first time.

It all started with a WECT report from Kim Ratcliff, about her younger brother. Keith Kopka was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gherig's disease four years ago.

ALS stripped most of Keith's motor skills, including his ability to walk, but it hasn't stripped his passion for family or football.

"To me, there's no better sport," said Keith.

It's always been his dream to go to a Super Bowl. A group of his friends in the St. James community, where he used to work decided to make his dream a reality. Together, Bill McCormack, Wayne Moody, and a host of other folks rallied together and purchased him two tickets and travel accommodations for the big game this weekend. This is just one of several fundraising efforts that the St. James community has done for the Kopka family.

"It's just amazing to me how much they've given me," said Keith.

"This is like make a wish for adults," said Megan.

Regardless of who wins, or even who's playing, the Kopka family is just happy to be together.

"It's devastating. It's changes everything," said Megan. "It's definitely a challenge but we don't slow down."

"I'm one of the luckiest people alive," said Keith. The Super Bowl is just icing on the cake."

Met-Life Stadium in New Jersey, where the game is being held has made arrangements for Keith and his wife to get in and out of the stadium with ease. The couple will leave Wilmington for the game on Saturday.

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