CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — On Wednesday, 9-year-old Elly Perlman and her 11-year-old brother Chase were surprised with the trip of a lifetime.
Levine Children’s Hospital, where the two siblings are patients, partnered with the Carolina Panthers to surprise the Perlman family with a trip to see the Panthers play the Chicago Bears in Chicago on Nov. 9.
It was some of the best news the family had received in the past three years.
In 2020, Elly was diagnosed with leukemia, a fight that lasted two and a half years. Not long after her remission, Chase was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic gastrointestinal illness.
“They’ve both just been amazing. Chase turned to me when he got his diagnosis, and he said, ‘Dad, I know Elly had her fight, and this is mine,’” said their father, Russ Perlman.
Their medical diagnoses forced the duo to grow up faster than their peers. But as the siblings played a quick game of touch football with Sir Purr and cheered with the TopCats at Wednesday’s surprise announcement, it was clear they still had enough childlike spirit to go around the room.
“I think when you’re looking ahead at milestones like this, rather than ‘what’s the next thing that we have to do in treatment,’ but rather, ‘what’s the next fun activity, this next fun trip we have going on,’ I think is really nice,” said their pediatrician, Dr. Stephen Renfrow.
With new Panthers swag, plane tickets, and a chance to meet players on the field before the Thursday night game, this family received a prescription for the soul. And Russ said the family couldn’t be more excited for some new, happy memories.
“I took [Chase] to his first game at home last year, and that was a big experience. So, to go to an away game and to be on the field? Mind-blowing,” he said.
The Perlmans are a family team that’s fought a tougher battle than most players ever do on the field. The true embodiment of what it means to Keep Pounding.