It was a dream come true for 13-year old Joseph Luna, who got to meet his favorite player, Vernon Davis, on Saturday. Joseph was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer called neuroblastoma when he was just 5-years old and then at age 11, he was diagnosed with a form of leukemia.
Joseph had always wished to come to San Francisco to see his favorite team play, but as it turns out, he didn’t have to travel all that far. While the 49ers were in town to play the Texans, Joseph and his family drove from Austin to Houston to meet Davis at the team hotel.
Davis walked over to a smiling Joseph who was surprised at the size of his football hero.
“He was telling me that he didn’t know I was that big,” Davis said. “I put my arm up and he was amazed. His grandpa put his arm next to mine and asked whose was bigger.”
Even bigger than Davis was the smile on Joseph’s face after the two began talking. Shaun Hill, Frank Gore, Moran Norris and Glen Coffee also stopped by to see Joseph as well.
“Joseph has been a 49ers fan since as long as we can remember,” said José Luna, Joseph’s grandfather. “Last year for his dog, we got him a leash and harness for Christmas. We also got him a jersey with 85 on it.”
Joseph’s Chihuahua was actually the first member of the family that he was able to convert to be a 49ers fan. Slowly but surely, the family of Cowboys fans has started to change allegiances.
“He’s been working on us forever,” Luna said with a smile. “First he converted his dog. He has a framed picture on his wall of the San Francisco helmet. I think he knew that the beauty of it would convert us.”
Davis was pleased to hear of Joseph’s passion for his team.
“I thought that was a genuine thing that he could convert the whole house that was mostly Dallas fans,” Davis said.
While Joseph had a day that he will surely remember for a long time, the same can be said for the 49ers talented tight end.
“When you look at a kid like that and you start to think, it makes you feel for them because you don’t know how much time they have,” Davis said. “All you want to do is embrace them and have love for them.”
“Joseph’s always looked up to Vernon,” Luna said. “A lot of us didn’t know who Vernon was. Being from Texas, it’s hard to root for and follow players outside of the state. I think that’s where Joseph has been such a good teacher to me because it’s not where you’re at, it’s where you want to be.”
Joseph taught Davis something as well.
“It makes me feel blessed,” Davis said. “It was honor for me to be able to come down here and see the little fellow after I heard about his situation. It was meant for me to come down here. I hope I was able to touch his heart because I heard he was a big fan of mine. It was a blessing for me to be able to do this.”
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