Quincy and Rex uplift Isaiah and Jack so they can touch the horseshoe.
By Randy York
Rex Burkhead was a featured guest on the Jim Rome Show Wednesday, and he successfully communicated four major messages – 1) Nebraska football; 2) Pediatric brain cancer; 3) Uplifting Athletes; and 4) Recruiting. Rome, one of the nation’s top sports radio talk show hosts, devoted more than eight minutes of his 11-minute, 15-second segment with Burkhead to Team Jack.
Talk about exposure. A cause that has been sweeping Husker Nation broadened its reach on Rome’s syndicated radio program, which is carried on 200 stations and boasts a weekday audience of more than 2 million listeners. According to the Jim Rome Show website, his listeners are no ordinary listeners. They’re a legion of fans that live and breathe for his “take” on the day’s larger issues of sport. His departure from conventional commentary is what makes Rome’s unique dialogue so popular.
The N-Sider has permission to use Rome’s Wednesday interview with Burkhead, who does an inspiring job describing the relationship he’s built with Jack Hoffman, the recently turned 7-year-old from Atkinson, Neb. Jack has pediatric brain cancer, and Rome encouraged Burkhead to discuss Team Jack and explain Uplifting Athletes, a national nonprofit organization that aligns college football programs with rare diseases. Later, after the interview, Rome explained his own passion, telling his listeners how his dad died of brain cancer. “That was gut-wrenching and he was 59,” Rome said. “It’s just terrifying to think of people like Jack Hoffman, who’s only 7 years old. What a brave young boy he must be.”
Rome said it would have been easy for Burkhead just to meet Jack, have lunch, sign autographs, give him a football and never see him again. Instead the Burkhead and Hoffman families have a strong relationship together. Burkhead told Rome that Jack’s strength and courage inspire him on a daily basis and said it was “awesome” to lift Jack up while Quincy Enunwa lifted 6-year-old cancer patient Isaiah Cassilas at the same time, so they could touch the horseshoe during Nebraska’s Tunnel Walk last Saturday night.
In the midst of describing the need to raise money and awareness to fight pediatric brain cancer, Burkhead delivered a great pitch for Nebraska recruiting. Rome asked him about turning down all kinds of scholarships, including one from Stanford, to come to Nebraska. Burkhead also gave his head football coach a ringing endorsement for Rome’s dedicated followers.
Hit the link at the top of this column and hear Rome’s interview with Burkhead. The only missing part of the tape are the Nebraska fans who called in after the show, including one that said Rex Burkhead and Jack Hoffman have unified the state “from Scottsbluff to Lincoln”. Rome mentioned more than once how much he’s wanted to interview Burkhead and now he knows why.
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