(WHDH) — Sixteen year-old Larry Prout Jr. proudly shows off the new Tom Brady book, “The TB 12 Method,” while sitting next to his mom in his room in Michigan.
“Best always, and then his signature,” he reads off Brady’s message from the cover of the book.
Prout is a young man who has been through an awful lot. Born with spina bifida, he spent his first year and a half in the hospital and has been back and forth ever since.
Growing up in Michigan, he has always been a fan of the University of Michigan Wolverines football team. Through a Boston-based non-profit called “Team Impact,” he got to meet Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and became friendly with many of the players. His Michigan fandom is also how he became a Brady backer.
“When he started getting into watching the Super Bowl and he learned Tom Brady played for Michigan, it all came together,” says mom, Kathryn. “It all clicked.”
Last summer, surgeons put a rod in his back to help his spine to straighten. But that surgery led to more surgeries. Since then, he’s been in significant pain that’s made everyday tasks difficult and left Larry feeling low.
“I was hurting a lot because of my back and hip,” he says. “I felt really sick and sad.”
“He had tweeted out how bad he felt,” Kathryn says. “And then this book arrives.”
Radio host Peter Sagal is a family friend of the Prouts. He was able to reach out to Brady and share Larry’s story. As usual, TB 12 delivered.
“It says ‘Best wishes to you, you’re an inspiration to us all,'” reads a portion of the message sent to Larry.
Kathryn says Brady’s message made a huge impact when her son really needed it.
“[Larry] was just kind of bottoming out and now he’s coming back up. It just kind of helped him perk up.”
Larry is now determined to help others. He has recently begun taking a course with his dog, Chevy, to get him certified as a therapy dog to meet with children in the hospital.
And he’s hoping to one day thank Brady in person for his message of support. Larry met Patriots owner Robert Kraft last year at a Team Impact event, so the meeting might not be all that far-fetched.
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