This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The best moment of Monday's BYU football practice happened long after the Cougars had stopped banging into each other and running past one another.
After the traditional end-of-practice pep talk from coach Kalani Sitake, the entire team gathered around 4-year-old Andelyn Hadfield of Lehi, a young girl inflicted with a cancerous tumor near her left kidney. The tot's condition is called neuroblastoma.
Honoring families who are dealing with difficult situations and challenges is part of a program that was known as "Thursday's Hero" when coach Bronco Mendenhall was at the helm. Now the Cougars call it the "True Blue Hero."
The effect is the same: heartwarming.
Monday, BYU linebacker Butch Pau'u presented Andelyn with gifts as she sat on her father's lap on the practice field. Her father, Andy Hadfield, played tight end for the Cougars from 2002-03 and also attended Southern Utah and Utah State.
Pau'u told the youngster that the Cougars were cheering for her, praying for her, and supporting her in her battle with cancer.
The family received a signed football, T-shirts, caps and four tickets to the season-opener against Portland State.
Afterwards, Andelyn played with siblings Kadence, 12, and Cohen, 2, as their mother Jessica and father Andy visited with BYU coaches and players.