A lifelong Cleveland Browns fan given only a few weeks to live had his final wish granted this week when he got to travel to Ohio to watch his favorite team make it to the playoffs.
Thanks to a group of fellow fans, Tom Seipel — who is now on hospice after being diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2017 — was invited to fly from his home in Georgia to watch the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Two weeks ago, Seipel posted on the Browns’ Reddit page to share his story, which eventually caught the attention of the Dawgs of War podcast hosts as well as Emily Mayfield, the wife of Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
“I never thought this would turn into anything,” Seipel told the Akron Beacon Journal of posting on Reddit.
Dawgs of War’s Rawley Davis then set up a GoFundMe page to pay for Seipel and his father to fly out to Cleveland and attend the game. The page has raised over $24,500.
Davis was also able to reach out to Emily, who prompted her husband to send Seipel a video message.
“You’re extremely inspirational, man, you’re a warrior. Just want to say, keep fighting. Appreciate your support and we’ll see what happens when we get into the playoffs, we’ll see if we make those dreams come true, bud,” Baker said in the clip.
When Emily heard Seipel would be coming to the game, she immediately offered 10 seats in her suite for him and his dad.
“This is the coolest … I know it’s just sports guys, and it’s a game, right? But I’ve lived and breathed Cleveland Browns football for so long, it’s just really cool,” Seipel said in an emotional YouTube video after learning he would be attending the game. “So thank you to all those who are making this happen, I’m lucky as heck.”
While at the game, which was Seipel’s first in two years, he got to meet Dawgs of War hosts Davis and Kevin Tuleta, and owner of Szabo Apparel Co, Brian Szabo, who also offered Seipel four seats.
He also FaceTimed with Baker after the Browns secured their win.
“My jaw dropped, I felt like a big dork, I didn’t know what to say,” he told the Journal. “I thought that was going to be the epitome, like okay, I just saw Baker and I talked to him pretty much in person, even though it was video, I didn’t think it could get much better than that, but I was wrong.”
The outlet reported that Seipel and his father then got to meet the Mayfields outside of the stadium and even take a selfie with the pair.
“That’s the class act that he is,” Seipel said. “Baker is every bit of swagger, Mr. Dangerous. He’s got that cool, edgy attitude, but at the same time he has the biggest heart in the world.”