Sunday, October 20, 2013


On Friday, we got a call from Sporting KC asking if Braden would come to their awards banquet and present the Humanitarian of the Year Award to Aurelien Collin. 

He would need to stand on a stage with lights shining at him in front of a crowd of people and hand an award to Aurelien with Cliff Illig (owner of SKC) and Coach Vermes. And he would need to "dress up".

Now that request hit every single "no way" button for Braden. He has autism and I wasn't sure he was going to have anything to do with this, but I remembered the night he was honored in the Victory Suite and he hopped up and waved to everyone in the stadium like he was the Pope. It was PRECIOUS and I was so proud of him!! The crowd ROARED but he continued to have a blast!!

So I talked to Brian and we figured we would try it. 

A once in a lifetime detour!  And a major challenge for his autism.

It was on the field at the stadium and it was beautiful! A little chilly for Braden even with the heaters, so we stayed inside and played until award time but when it was time, we went outside.

He wore jeans (which is a major victory) and a button down shirt (another, "you have to be kidding me...he's really doing this moment")! You couldn't see his shirt because it was chilly enough we had him wear his coat on stage but he did it!! BIGGEST BOY!!  AND...he didn't even fuss...he was excited to wear his jeans!!! 


SO not what usually happens, tears and "I not" fixed with me telling him "just until and then we will get a present".

Not yesterday though...what a big, big boy!! 

As we were getting ready to go out to the dinner/stage area on the field, Braden started with "I not like this....I not want to go..."  I was worried but Brandi, the community relations person came in and helped me distract him. I told him we would get to give Aurelien a trophy and that was a BIG incentive. Braden LOVES trophies!! 

He talks about trophies all the time. So much that one detour day this summer, he and two of his adult friends, Ms Kim and Ms Jo, stopped on the way home and got trophies for Braden and Zach! Now they each have a "best big brother and best little brother trophy". SOO cool!!  In fact, for my birthday, Braden told Brian he wanted to get me a trophy so they had a trophy made for mom! :) 


The first person he got to see was CJ Sapong. CJ and Braden were featured in our 2014 A Year of Hope Calendar with Sporting KC. And CJ is AWESOME!! He is soo funny and silly! B had a great time with him so when he got to see CJ again, he was very excited!

During the Calendar Shoot

Last night!

Well, we had arranged that I could go on stage with him if he wouldn't do it, but when we got there, I asked Mr. Illig to hold his hand and take him up on stage. 

And Braden walked up with him! 


He did it!!

Okay, he fell on the stair, but Mr. Illig had him and helped get him back upright (it was a really tall stair and he didn't expect he has his mother's graceful moves) ;)

The emcees talked about Braden and that we started Braden's Hope and everyone clapped for was SO very sweet!!!

He then stood on the stage between Mr. Illig and Coach Vermes and held the award. Aurelien came on stage and knelt down beside Braden. He put his head down and Braden rubbed his bald head! 

Mr. Illig to Braden's right, and Coach Vermes talking to B on stage

SO cool!!

It was at that point that the tears began to flow for mom.  

Absolutely priceless!

Aurelien Collin smiling at B and sweetly patting his shoulder. WOW!

Everyone clapped and they took pictures! It was just like Braden Hofen was any other kid!


Being able to type those words is more of a gift than I can describe! He DID IT!!

He really did it!!

Aurelien took Braden's hand and walked him off of the stage...making sure he navigated the step safely (because he had had his own toe clip on the way up).

As he held his hand, He asked the staff around him if he could give the award to Braden.

I heard it and tried to process it, but instead just broke into a jaw dropping open mouth, tear filled pose.

And then, he bent down...handed the award to Braden and asked him to keep it for him.

Braden's entire face lit up!! 


Braden thanked him and clutched it to his chest with both hands. The smile hasn't left his face.

What an amazing thing to do!!  Just unreal!! WOW!!

This morning, the first thing that Braden said when he woke up was...

"MOM...I got a trophy!  Where is my trophy?" So we went downstairs to hold it again!

Aurelien Collin, Humanitarian of the Year?

I would say YES!!!

That was an extremely selfless act Aurelien Collin!! You are AMAZING!!

Thank you to ALL of the Sporting are unbelievably gracious to all of our kids!!

And you have made Braden smile more times than I can count!