By Ken MacLeod

WARE (CBS) – Rob Gronkowski used New Year’s Eve to give a Central Mass teen a super surprise. With the help of Make a Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the former Patriots tight end will send a Ware 17-year-old and his family to the Super Bowl in Miami.

Hard times for Aiden Clark and his family began with seizures when he was six. But his epilepsy got worse and by the time he was a teenager, almost every day brought a debilitating seizure. So bad, he couldn’t go to school.

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The Clark family returned to their Ware home Wednesday night with Aiden still clutching the helmet and football Gronk signed for him.

Aiden Clark (WBZ-TV)

“That might have been the best night of my life,” Aiden said.

That might be because the 17-year-old is “obsessed” with Gronk, or because he gave him the Super Bowl tickets on national TV in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

“It’s like winning the lottery,” Aiden said.

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His dad told him the family was going to the Big Apple for New Year’s Eve, keeping the real reason for the visit a secret for two long weeks.

Rob Gronkowski and Aiden Clark (Image credit Aiden Clark)

Even better is the magic worked by doctor’s at Children’s Hospital who two years ago performed laser ablation surgery on Aiden’s brain, dramatically reducing the teen’s seizures.

So much so, the 6’3” 300-pound teen played football for his high school this fall.

“Sports is a great way to deal with trials and tribulations of life in a microcosm,” Aiden’s dad Shawn Clark said.

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Indeed, his dad knows too well just how isolated and alone kids can feel when battling a serious illness and perhaps that’s why spending New Year’s Eve in front of millions felt so good.

Ken MacLeod