FOXBORO, MASS. (WHDH) - It was a big day for one fan at Patriot Place Thursday as former Patriots star Rob Gronkowski dropped by to make a wish come true.
The retired tight end was in Foxboro to visit 14-year-old Joseph “Jake” Drake. The visit was part of a special day planned by Make-A-Wish of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
“My wish was to meet the Gronk and have a talk with him, play catch,” Drake said. “And I had a lot of fun doing it.”
“He told me to never give up on what I dreamed to be,” Drake separately said.
Drake is in remission from an optic nerve tumor. He said watching sports helped him through long, hard days in the hospital and inspired him to stay determined.
As he continues his remission, the Make-A-Wish organization wanted to help Drake meet one of his heroes.
In their visit this week, Drake and Gronk bowled together at Splitsville Luxury Lanes where Drake even learned to do Gronk’s signature spike celebration.
“There’s a saying out there that Julian Edelman always said in the locker room when the times were getting a little tough,” Gronkowski said. “It’s that ‘Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.’”
After spending some time together, Gronkowski surprised Drake with tickets to this Sunday’s Patriots game as well as a special honor — Drake will be the third-ever “Keeper of the Light,” ringing the bell at the top of the new lighthouse at Gillette Stadium ahead of kickoff.
Speaking this week, Drake said the experience with Gronkowski is one he will never forget.
“I kind of froze for a bit, just quickly thinking ‘Wow, I really get to do this,” he said.
“Thank you Gronk for taking the time out of your day to come and see me and make sure I had a nice day,” Drake continued.
Gronkowski has personally granted 17 wishes in his time working with Make-A-Wish.
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