Penn State Nittany Lions: Make-A-Wish

STATE COLLEGE, Pa -- Three small children, between the ages of 3 and 5, weren't intimidated by Penn State's mammoth football players. A boy in a blue hat, who just reached Kyle Carter's waist, instead actually tried to intimidate the 6-foot-3 tight end.

"Boo!" he yelled, giggling furiously once Carter and two other players -- Carl Nassib and Brian Gaia -- feigned being frightened.


They're fighting for their lives every day and, just being able to see them fight and be happy, it's really inspiring.


-- Penn State DE Brad Bars

"Boo!" his brother joined in. Soon enough, all three siblings were joining in a chorus more fit for Halloween. "Boo!" Laughter. "Boo!" More laughter.

The children were part of the 28 Make-A-Wish families who descended on the Lasch Football Building to hang out with the football players, tour the facilities -- and even try on some pads and uniforms in the locker room. Saturday afternoon's event was part of THON weekend, which is centered around a student dance marathon that helps raise money to fight pediatric cancer. Just last year, THON helped raise $10.68 million.

"Every time, it just gets better," Carter said. "This is definitely the most [players]. I'm not sure if guys are just feeling they really wanted to give back this year; I just feel like the whole team is here today. I can't think of one guy who is not here."

Even true freshman Adam Breneman, who's been enrolled about a month, slowly walked through the building's hallways -- stopping every so often to point out the meaning of plaques or what goes on in certain rooms. Donovan Smith, a 316-pound offensive tackle, couldn't have caused more laughter -- well, maybe with his teammates-- if he had slipped on a purple dinosaur costume. Steven Bench chatted up any adult or kid within earshot.

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