Life has been tough for Minnesota 9-year-old Harley Carnes since a horrific car accident in March – but it was made a little easier Friday thanks to Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway.
The crash while on spring break with his mom in Florida left Harley paralyzed from the neck down, and facing a long and difficult road back to a semblance of a normal life.
But he's been helped on that road by the veteran linebacker, who joined forces with Harley's home city of Hutchinson and local car dealer Jay Malone Motors to buy his family a $30,000 handicap-accessible van to help with the transition, according to Harley's Facebook page.
Greenway made the gesture on the final day of his "Day to Reach" football camp in Hutchinson, WCCO reports, as he told the 400 kids who signed up: "Harley's been paralyzed from the neck down, but what I want you to hear is he appreciates every day."
Harley, a big Vikings fan, told WCCO that the chance to meet Greenway put a "really, really exciting" smile on his face, while his mom said she's been overwhelmed by the support her family has received since coming back from Florida.
"It's been so nice knowing...we were going to come back to a community that would be there for him."
FOX 9 says that Greenway is an athlete with a record of giving back to the community, with this life-changing gift just the latest example of his generosity.
"Our camp mantra is appreciation," he told the TV station. "I think that just ties into what we are trying to teach these kids at the camp."
Harley, a 3rd grader at Park Elementary in Hutchinson, was given just a 5 percent chance of survival by doctors following the crash, WCCO says.
But now there is hope Harley can make a more complete recovery from his injuries, with the spinal cord in the affected area of his vertebrae pinched, but not severed.
His family described Harley's injuries and challenges on this GoFundMe page, which has so far raised $6,485 to help with his continuing recovery.