13-year-old Chiefs fan with rare disease attends game thanks to stranger’s kindness

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 7:32 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A young Philadelphia native and his family are getting a first-class welcome to Kansas City thanks to the generosity of a stranger.

AJ Gonzalez was born with a rare disease called fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP). It’s more commonly known as “stone man syndrome” because it causes soft tissue like muscles and tendons to slowly turn into bone over time. Unless there are medical advances, FOP will likely result in AJ having a shorter life.

AJ is 13 years old and lives in Philadelphia. Unlike most of the people who live near him – he’s a Chiefs fan.

“I’m predicting 28-21, Chiefs,” AJ said.

AJ’s parents, Rico and Kristi Gonzalez, tried to get tickets to Monday’s Chiefs-Eagles game but weren’t having any success.

That is until Terri Kelly heard their request.

Kelly owns a concrete company out of Excelsior Springs. Instead of just giving the Gonzalez family tickets to the Chiefs-Eagles game, he gave three of his season tickets to the family. He also helped arrange one more surprise for the family.

“KC Wolf is going to come up to our [stadium] seats and see him up there,” Kelly said. “So it’s going to be nice for him.”

Rico and Kristi kept it all a surprise for AJ until a small Chiefs bus came to pick up their crew for the game.

Rico was emotional while watching his son get the tickets and see the bus. He’s a lifelong Eagles fan but has grown an appreciation for the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I always say there’s no fans like Philly fans and that’s where I’m at, but this truly took the cake. Like there’s no fans like KC fans and it’s been nothing but a warm welcome for me the last few days,” Rico said. “I’ve been wearing only Eagles gear, and everybody was just so kind, it’s amazing – it’s amazing.”

Chris and Michele of IFOPA helped coordinate this game day experience for the Gonzalez family and were also offered free tickets from the Kelly family.

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