Husker receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. makes surprise visit to fan in hospital
It’s not everyday you get to meet one of your heroes, but that’s exactly what happened recently for 12-year-old Bellwood resident Malaki Swantek.
The seventh grader is currently a patient at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, where he is receiving physical therapy for a surgery he had over the summer in relation to his cerebral palsy. His father, Jared Swantek, told The Banner-Press his son has always been a huge Cornhuskers fan, so it was quite the pleasant surprise when Husker wide receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. visited him in the hospital on Sept. 3.
“I’m in total shock!” said Malaki, in a post on the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals-Lincoln Campus’s Facebook page about the visit. “Talking to him gave me a big boost of confidence.”
“It was really a big surprise. It was one of those things that I knew was going to be a memory that he would remember,” Jared Swantek said. “It is going to be a lifelong memory. He’s always going to remember it.”
Morgan’s mother, Monique Jason, helped coordinate the visit. The two chatted and Morgan signed a Nebraska football for Malaki. His favorite player also promised to do a dab, a type of dance move, in honor of Malaki when he makes his next touchdown.
Jared Swantek said he thought Morgan got something out of the visit, too, from seeing his son’s positive reaction to him showing up.
“If I can do that for someone, that’s what matters,” Morgan said in the Facebook post.
Many on Facebook commented about the visit.
“What a blessing...it’s a wonderful thing he got to experience…,” Angela Walker wrote. “ It just melts my heart!!!”
“My favorite player has a big heart! How special for Malaki!” Cindy Schroeder wrote.
“This is so heartwarming!” Carol Preister wrote. “ Thank You Stanley Morgan Jr. Malaki is so amazing! Everyone loves him!”
A benefit brunch for Malaki, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, will be held on Sept. 23 at St. Peter Church in Bellwood. The fundraiser goes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m and the menu will include french toast, eggs and sausage.
Malaki will be receiving treatment for the next couple of weeks at Madonna. His father said he hopes his son will be ready to come home by his birthday on Sept. 26. His son’s dream is to become a physical therapist for the Huskers and help others like they’ve helped him.
“He’s always had physical therapy in his life, and will probably always need it,” Jared said. “And it’s something he wants to give back for those who actually gave towards him.”
Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at Eschucht@columbustelegram.com