MacKenzie Moretter has always had a birthday party with her family. But for her 10th birthday, she wanted one that included friends. The only problem: MacKenzie has always struggled with making friends.

MacKenzie has a rare genetic condition called Sotos Syndrome, which causes gigantism and has made MacKenzie much taller than her peers, her dad told KARE in Minnesota. Although kids are nice to her, they don't play with her or build friendships.

When MacKenzie's mom sent invitations to 10 students, none accepted. Days before the party, MacKenzie didn't have any guests to expect. Her mother, desperate, put out a plea through Facebook asking for sympathetic parents to come to the park for a celebration, even if just for a short time, just to help her daughter avoid the heartache of being stood up.

MacKenzie got much more than she bargained for. Around 200 people ended up coming to the park for a birthday, including two NFL players: Minnesota Vikings receiver Charles Johnson and Buffalo Bills tight end MarQueis Gray.


Johnson brought his own family, including his wife and daughters, and spent some time with MacKenzie.

"[Johnson] showed up early and stayed with his family for a couple of hours," said Mackenzie's dad, according to Bleacher Report. "He played, danced, played with bubbles -- like everyone else there.

"He brought her a present, toys, a pink Charles Johnson jersey with his name and number on the back, and pink shoes that matched. She wore it to school Monday."


Gray, meanwhile, shared some video from the party, which features all sort of fun: Hula hoops, balloons and tons of kids running around playing.


Odds are you've never had a birthday party that good. Good on Johnson and Gray for taking time to make MacKenzie's birthday special.

Jack Carder had a monumental experience Tuesday night. First, he took the pitching mound before a Columbus Clippers minor-league baseball game in Ohio. On the mound, volunteers presented Carder with a 3D-printed prosthetic hand fashioned after Iron Man.

Once the 5-year-old slipped it on to his right hand hand, he raised it triumphantly in the air. Then he threw the game's opening pitch with his left.

Carder, who was born with only a thumb on his right hand, received the hand from a non-profit group called e-NABLE-Siena College, which features student engineers working to provide solutions such as Carder's hand.

The new prosthetic functions in concert with Carder's thumb, giving him five-finger functionality and the ability to perform everyday tasks with his hand.

Apparently, his hand also have a super-cool feature: A glow-in-the-dark laser that emits from his hand.


And the transition was a success! MEET OUR IRON MAN JACK

A photo posted by e-NABLE Siena (@enablesiena) on

Carder had tried on his hand earlier for the e-NABLE group so they could make sure it was properly fitted to his hand. But as of Tuesday night, it's all his.

Props to this incredible group of students and its positive impact.


Hugs all around #ENABLESiena

A photo posted by e-NABLE Siena (@enablesiena) on

Brian Peterson was raised in Massachusetts, but he and his wife settled and raised a family in Nebraska. Ten years ago, his wife died after a battle with cancer, leaving Peterson alone to raise three girls.

Those girls are grown up now, and they understand what a gift their father gave them just by sticking with them and helping them recover from their devastating loss. On Monday, those girls repaid their father by taking him to Boston for a Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

In a segment filmed for The Today Show, Peterson explains that one of the last trips he ever made with his wife was to Boston for a Red Sox game.

The trip to Fenway was an incredible experience for Peterson and his daughters: They enjoyed seats behind the team dugout and got to meet Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli.

Peterson's oldest girl was 14 when his wife died, but his daughters speak highly of how he rallied them together in the wake of their loss.

Said one daughter: "[He] definitely taught us how to get through it and how to never leave someone's side. He showed us the true value of love."

Betty Johnson was a Kansas City Chiefs superfan. She attended every game, and received a regular pre-game kiss from wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, who was just released from the team this season.

On Thursday, Johnson's health declined, and her family came to realize they might not have much more time with her. They contacted the Chiefs with one final request: She wanted to see the Chiefs one last time.

The franchise helped her out, arranging for a visit to her from Nick Lowery, a former Chiefs kicker now in the franchise's Hall of Fame.

According to Johnson's granddaughter, the scene was emotional, and almost poetic.

"We sang a prayer, and he was going to leave, and we noticed that she was no longer breathing," Johnson's granddaughter told KSHB. "We believe that she was just waiting to say goodbye to her Chiefs."

Props to the Chiefs for arranging for Johnson's last wish to be granted.

As British cyclist David Sims sees it, lots of people before him have raised money riding an adult bike. Not quite as common? Raising money for charity by riding a famous children's bike.

So Sims is doing just that. And now, this isn't your casual loop around the block: Sims is riding the Tour de France.

This summer, just before the real cycling race takes place, Sims will embark on his own tour of the French countryside, biking for the Help for Heroes charity, which provides support to soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.

Like professional cyclists on big-boy bikes, Sims will have a team helping him along the way. A friend will trail him in an RV to offer assistance throughout any obstacles he might face.

To withstand the ride, which will cover more than 2000 miles, Sims has had to make surprisingly few adjustments to his Raleigh Chopper. The bike will even feature the original, 1970s-era tires.

"The main I've changed is the seat post and the pedal arms as it was originally designed for kids," Sim tells the New York Post'. "And the wheels -- on the first part of the race through Northern France, there are a lot of sections of really terrible cobbles, so a guy made me some really strong wheels as I kept breaking spokes. I've also had to put slightly better brakes on as well."

Sim's bike is best-known in popular culture for its role on the family sitcom The Wonder Years, in which the protagonist Kevin Arnold uses his Chopper to impress his childhood crush, Winnie Cooper.

Sim believes he'll be able to climb even the steepest segments of the race on the children's bike, and may even go farther than the actual pro riders will in this year's Tour de France -- riding on a kid's bike, he said there will be times where he opts for less-trafficked roads.

Pete Frates, a former college baseball player at Boston College who was later diagnosed with ALS and is credited with inventing the Ice Bucket Challenge, has been awarded an honorary contract by the Boston Red Sox.

Frates has collaborated with the Red Sox on fundraising and awareness efforts in the past, and the club has enjoyed its relationship with the activist. During Spring Training, the Red Sox played an exhibition game with Boston College, and each team wore Frates' name across the backs of their jerseys, along with No. 3 -- his college playing number.

Now, he's an official member of the Red Sox organization.

"Everything that Pete has gone through, there's been a pretty strong connection made here with the Red Sox,” manager John Farrell said at the ceremony. "We weren't aware that there was going to be the honorary contract signed. I thought it was a great gesture on the part of [general manager Ben Cherington] and the organization.

"It's just great to see the attention that he's bringing to his own challenge and what it's meant, really, worldwide."

Frates' new teammates were eager to give him a warm reception.


Five years ago a tall, quiet teenager walked into a gas station in Detroit with a grim look on his face.

He had run out of gas on the John C. Lodge Freeway and he was looking for some help. Mohamed Gabasha, who was working at the BP gas station that night, gave the young man a container of gas and a ride to his car.

This week that man repaid Gabasha for his good deed, and he added interest.

Will Gholston, now a 23-year-old defensive end on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was then a high school senior heading to Michigan State. Now that he's entering his third year in the NFL he's got some funds with which to repay Gabasha.

During a recent trip back to Detroit, where he grew up, Gholston surprised Gabasha by dropping in and paying him back for gas he donated.

Here's the video Gabasha's cousin uploaded to YouTube. As a warning, the clip contains some explicit language:

Gabasha told the Tampa Bay Times that he has helped other customers before but none had ever come back to thank him.

"It was amazing, how he actually came back," Gabasha said. "He just said 'Thank you for that day.' It was really, really nice."

In 1996, Matt LaChappa was a minor-league pitcher for the San Diego Padres when he suffered a heart attack at just 20 years old. The injury ended his career and resulted in health complications that have since put LaChappa in a wheelchair.

For the Padres, his story could have simply been the story of a prospect who tragically failed to pan out. Instead, the organization has gone out of its way to make sure LaChappa has been cared for. San Diego has signed him to a minor league contract every year since 1996. The 2015 season is his 20th season with the team.

The act is far from ceremonial: By signing a contract with the club, LaChappa is able to get health care through the organization -- a huge gift for someone in his situation.

LaChappa had come to the Padres after growing up on the Barona Indian Reservation outside of San Diego. His story was first told in 2005 by Orange County Register columnist Steve Bisheff . It reported that LaChappa was incredibly well supported by the community as an up-and-coming athlete.

Bisheff updated his story in 2013, and USA Today confirmed this week that LaChappa has been signed for 2015.

"What happened just devastated so many people," Priscilla Oppenheimer, the Padres' director of minor-league operations, told Bisheff. "Matt was looked up to by everyone in the community. When he signed, about half the tribe came in for the ceremony.

"He's a great kid. He is confined to a wheelchair, has trouble communicating and is barely able to hold a spoon. But his mind is still as sharp as ever. He has an incredible sense of humor and is just a joy to be around."

LaChappa still makes regular visits to watch Padres games. It's no surprise that he remains a dedicated fan of the team. Meanwhile, the club's continued support of a former prospect is sure to earn them additional fans from across the country.

Russell Westbrook is having an exceptional season on the court. His 27.7 points, 8.7 assists and 7.3 rebounds per game are scary good. His 11 triple-doubles are the fourth-most in the last 20 seasons. He is one of only three players with seven 30+ point triple-doubles in a season. The other two men are Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan.

But Westbrook is also having an outbreak season off the court. In a Sports Illustrated feature last week, the MVP candidate was quick to point out his desire for the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. "It's been one of my main goals all season. I want it," Westbrook told SI's Lee Jenkins.

Westbrook's Why Not? Foundation has build three reading rooms at Oklahoma City area elementary schools this season.

Westbrook showed his giving colors again on Monday in OKC. The guard, who is making $15,719,062 this season, received a brand-new Kia for winning the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award in February in New York City. Rather than put another car in his garage, Westbrook decided to give the vehicle to a fan in need.

Kerstin Gonzalez is a 19-year-old single mother of two boys. She had her first son at age 14. On Monday morning, Gonzalez was getting her day started at Sunbeam Family Services. While waiting for her appointment, Westbrook surprised her with the keys.

Gonzalez broke down in tears, while Westbrook hung around her two sons. Gonzalez is hoping to graduate high school this year and apply to college to study forensic science. She also does not need to worry about a new job, as she has the keys to a new Kia.

“It’s just all the hard work that she’s done to be able to keep her family together,” Westbrook said in a Thunder press release. “When you see somebody working hard towards a goal and finding ways every day to keep everything afloat for her two boys and her family, you can’t do anything but help them out.”

In terms of the Thunder's schedule, Westbrook has five games to grind out the final spot in the Western Conference Playoffs. The guard has willed the Thunder to a half-game lead for eighth place in the standings without 2013-14 NBA MVP Kevin Durant, due to injury, for most of the season.

If you've ever wanted to catch a ride on the Rob Gronkowski crazy train, here's your chance. The New England Patriots star is willing to spike -- or, as terms, "Gronk-spike"" -- any item you want in exchange for charitable donations to benefit the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation and Kids 2 Camp.

He means it -- he'll Gronk anything. Any item you can imagine, along with numerous items you wouldn't believe exist.

"In the NFL, we can only Gronk footballs," Gronkowski explains. "But out here, we can Gronk whatever we want."

The tight end says that winning entries into the contest will be flown to Boston to hang out with Gronk on his party bus, during which time those pre-determined items of choice will be Gronked.

If you're into Gronk, or Gronking, this is a can't-miss opportunity. Meanwhile, the Pats star continues his post-Super Bowl rampage of hype-fueled insanity.

And he may be well on his way to getting Gronk listed as both noun and verb in the Oxford English dictionary.

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