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June 18, 2007

Quinn makes important call

Dyan Orr will need a miracle to be alive for the home opener against Georgia Tech.

The 11-year old girl suffers from a rare disease of the lymphatic system that is fatal. She is likely in her last days. Her father, Mike Orr, was in South Bend on Thursday to thank people in his former hometown for all they have done for his daughter. Mike Orr is a lifelong Notre Dame football fan and his affection for the Irish carried over to his daughter.

It turns out Dyan Orr has a favorite player and no one else comes close. Like thousands of others, she thinks Brady Quinn can do no wrong. Based on what Quinn has done over the past days, she may be absolutely correct.

Quinn called Dyan Orr in her home in Portage, Wisc. Her father said Dyan whispered after the call that it was one of the greatest moments in her life. Mike Orr said he became a fan of the Cleveland Browns when that happened. The cooperation and consideration shown by the franchise let his daughter to enjoy and treasure a moment that may be one of her last conscious thoughts.

Quinn didn't stop there. After practice on Thursday, he signed a picture that Dyan Orr had sent him. It showed her wearing an oversized T-shirt with Quinn's image on the front. He autographed the picture, and just to make the moment more special, Dyan Orr now has an autographed Notre Dame green jersey. You know what numeral is on the jersey.

Keep in mind that Quinn is trying to learn an NFL offense in mini-camp. He and his agent are also trying to work out a contract. It's a pretty busy time for the former Irish quarterback, who has obviously learned it doesn't take much to make someone else feel loved. It has often been said that one does not go through Notre Dame but that Notre Dame goes through them. Brady Quinn is living proof of that statement.

On Thursday night Dyan Orr also received a phone call from Charlie Weis. She wished the Notre Dame coach good health his daughter Hannah. The Orrs say their daughter feels close to Hannah because both share physical ailments and both are Irish fans.

Dyan Orr wears two bracelets on her wrist. One of from the hospital in Wisconsin where she's received treatment. One is the gold circle for Hannah and Friends. I realize Weis doesn't want any publicity for his act of kindness. Sorry coach, I just couldn't let this one go. The story is too poignant and too tragic not to tell those who follow your team what you've done for a child whose time on earth is coming to a close.

Dyan Orr is only awake for an hour or so these days. She knows she won't be around much longer and knows she is going to a better place. A place without pain, a place where she will meet uncles, aunts and other relatives she never met. The disease that has stricken her has been diagnosed in only 200 patients in the United States. Her lymphatic system does not work properly. It and attacks healthy tissue while trying to cleanse the body.

Dyan Orr has said that when she dies, she wants the doctors to try and find out why she contracted Gorham's Vanishing Bone Disease. She wants her body to be used in medical research to try and find out why this terrible disease attacked her, so that in the future, another child may be helped. She says she believes in angels and that angels protect those who need help.

Quinn may find his first season in the NFL very difficult. Weis might not win as much as he wants this season. I really don't think those issues mean too much during these warm and slow days of summer. I wish Dyan Orr would receive a miracle and get the chance to watch Quinn play in the NFL or watch the Irish run through the tunnel one more time. It's unlikely that will happen. While we wonder and worry about elbows, the 3-4 defense and the recruiting chase, we need to take a few moments realize how lucky we are and to ask that the Orr family be helped and comforted in their time of need.


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