BOSTON (CBS) – It was the best kind of surprise from Patriot star Rob Gronkowski to a teenager battling brain cancer.
The message is personal and very inspiring for the 13-year-old who is from Lawrence, but now lives in North Carolina.
It comes at the perfect time, as the young patient goes for his last chemotherapy treatment after a very long journey.
“What’s up Hunter? It’s your buddy Rob Gronkowski,” was the first thing in a video Gronkowski sent Hunter Pietrowski, another fighter with a ton of heart. “I just want to say congratulations on your last chemo session coming up on Thursday.”
Hunter has battled health problems all his life. He was diagnosed with brain cancer last summer.
Through it all the Patriots were a constant.
“It’s my team,” Hunter says. And Gronk is his guy.
So a family friend decided to try and connect the two, tweeting out the request. A social media tsunami built, and before you could say “Super Bowl Champs,” the Patriots tight end tweeted out that a surprise was coming.
That surprise was the video.
“At first we were kind of taken back that it wasn’t real, so we just kept replaying it and replaying it,” says Tiffany Pietrowski, Hunter’s mother.
The video shows Gronkowski speaking directly to Hunter.
“We’re both going through a little setback right now, but we’re both going to come back with major comebacks,” he told the teenager.
“It makes me feel like there’s somebody fighting with me,” Hunter told WBZ-TV.
Tiffany Pietrowski says it just makes sense that Gronkowski connected with Hunter.
“Cancer is not taking Hunter down, and you see it takes many players to try and get Gronk down,” she says.
Hunter made his own thank you video, imitating Gronkowski spiking the ball in the end zone.
“Stay strong and let’s fight through this,” Gronk tells Hunter.
Hunter will be in the hospital for a week receiving what he hopes is his last round of chemo. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help his family with costs that insurance doesn’t pay.