Jon Miller will never see an NFL game, but his doting father made sure he came to the Super Bowl anyway.
As much as the Super Bowl is known for its celebrities, corporate tickets and big money glitz, it can also be an epic and heartfelt event for families seeking the most unique and bonding of experiences.
One of those stories could be found in the upper decks of Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, a story of a father's love for his son and a desire to make his dreams comes true.
Jon Miller is 12 years old and has suffered from cone-rod dystrophy and Batten's Disease since 2006. His condition is uncurable and as it has worsened; his sight has deteriorated to the point where he is essentially blind.
An avid New York Giants fan, Jon sits in his living room in Tampa, Fla., and listens to Eli Manning and Big Blue on the radio every weekend. The only thing that kept him from hearing the end of the Giants' thrilling overtime conclusion to the NFC Championship game was his bedtime.
"When he woke up in the morning, the first thing he wanted to know was who won," says his father Eric, who runs TIAA-Cref, a financial services company in Tampa. "The next thing was asking whether we could go to the Super Bowl."
The answer, much to Jon's surprise, was yes.
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"You never know when you are going to get the chance to come to something like this," says Eric, seated beside his son. "It is a once in a lifetime experience. It means so much to him. To see the look on his face when he heard we were coming and when the crowd screamed as the Giants ran out. It will always stay with us and it will always be worth it."
Jon came to the game with his dad and 10-year-old sister, Maria. They relayed information about the game and the atmosphere to him constantly throughout the evening. It was a memorable cap to a great day; earlier in the afternoon, Jon tested out the 800 ft. NFL zip-line in the center of Indianapolis after a kind stranger handed over a pass.
Back home in Tampa, Jon plays flag football as a center and buddy baseball, a program whereby able-bodied volunteers work accompany partially-sighted children in playing the game.
This weekend though, his father presented him with an experience he will never forget.
"I love being here," Jon says. "I can't believe it."
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