Chiefs fan handmakes favorite player heartfelt gift

Feb. 1—Many fans show up to Kansas City Chiefs training camp hoping to interact with their favorite players, but few make the impression St. Joseph resident Erica Leivan did.

A diehard Chiefs fan and an avid crocheter, Leivan decided to put her two passions together to make her favorite player, Isiah Pacheco, a heartfelt gift. She crocheted Pacheco a Pikachu from the show "Pokemon," a tribute to both the similar name and the former seventh-round pick's playing style.

"His last name was Pacheco and it just kind of fit," Leivan said. "He's an electric player and that's kind of where it stemmed from."

The handmade gift was touching enough, but the Pikachu represented more than just fandom. Pacheco lost his brother, Travoise Cannon, in January 2016 and his sister, Celeste Cannon, in September 2017.

As a tribute to them, the Pikachu carries a football with two letters on it — T for Travoise and C for Celeste.

When Leivan self-delivered the gift to Pacheco at training camp this summer at Missouri Western State University, the significance took a minute for the player to register.

"He said, 'Who are they?' because it was kind of loud at training camp," Leivan said. "He leaned in and I said 'Your brother and sister.' And once he kind of realized that he was thrown back. He was kind of speechless about it. It kind of took him off guard a little bit. But once he kind of realized the time that a fan took, he thought that was really special."

Leivan said that Pacheco kept the Pikachu in his arms as he continued signing for fans and headed back to the locker room.

The gift might have just been a good luck charm, as Pacheco ran for 935 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games this season, while his 282 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns during the playoffs have the Chiefs one win away from the team's third Super Bowl of the Patrick Mahomes era.

Leivan said she will be watching at home with her family, hoping Pacheco and the team will keep the Lombardi trophy in Kansas City.

"We're just like everybody," Leivan said. "We like to scream at our TV and we're hoping that somehow they'll hear what we have to say. I am so proud of our Chiefs. It's really special and it's an honor that we do live where we do so we can support our boys as close as we can."