By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s truly amazing the lasting effect a simple small gift can have on a child. Just ask Max Johnson, he keeps his gift close to his heart. “My football. It’s signed by Tom Brady,” Max said.

Max was born with a congenital heart defect and in 2013 had to undergo a heart transplant. “They took my heart and they put a new one in,” Max said.

When he was in the hospital the family got a surprise visit from the New England Patriots front office. “And said he was very good friend of Robert Kraft and had a gift bag which had a signed football from Tom Brady,” Max’s mom Nicole Johnson said.

max1 7 Year Old Heart Transplant Recipient Treasures Gift From Patriots

Max Johnson holding football signed by Tom Brady (WBZ-TV)

Now five years after the transplant he still hasn’t parted ways with his football. “What a special gift for him to have. Not only did it help brighten up our days in the hospital, but we are five years out from his transplant and he still looks at this ball all the time,” Nicole said.

This weekend Max says he will be holding his signed Brady football during the AFC Championship Game. “Because I love the Patriots and they are my favorite team,” Max said.

While the family does not know what the future holds for seven-year-old Max, much like the Patriots they plan to focus on task at hand. “Stay focused don’t look too far in the future. Figure out the plan for that day and execute it,” Nicole said.

Max has his own dreams. “I want to be a quarterback,” Max said.

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