All Zach Dacy ever wanted to do was sack a quarterback.
Dacy, a 5-year-old battling Leukemia, is a big Green Bay Packers fan and loves linebacker Clay Matthews. And while he didn’t get to live out that fantasy when he visited the Packers via the Make A Wish Foundation last year, his father and Northern Illinois did give him a shot at Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch.
Dacy’s parents, Joe and Jen, are both Northern Illinois grads and in the summer, Joe contacted the NIU athletic department to let them know the family wanted to attend a game.
Kyle Skarb, an assistant athletic director of development, provided the family with tickets to the season opener against Eastern Illinois and a chance to attend a Huskie practice.
The family, which included Dacy’s 7-year-old brother, Coen, came to a practice on Sept. 19, two days before the game, and that’s when Dacy got to test out his tackling skills thanks to head coach Rod Carey.
“He’s going through a lot right now, I think that’s the least we could do,” Lynch told Huskie Wire. “We made his day and he gave me a pretty good shot.”
After the hit, the entire team crowded around Dacy and his brother and ended practice with a “Go Dogs!”
“To see [the team] and how they’re interacting, I know they’re young kids. Them taking the time...they wanted to do it,” Jen Dacy told Huskie Wire. “It’s not liked they looked like, ‘Oh great. We’ve got to do this.’ They we’re excited to do it, and that meant a lot.”
What a great gesture by the Northern Illinois football program and athletic department and it’s even more special that it wasn’t about publicity. The Huskie Wire story came out Thursday, which was three weeks after the visit.
This will definitely be something Dacy remembers for the rest of his life.