His family displaced as a result of Hurricane Florence, 12-year-old Derrick Buchanan wasn’t expecting much of anything for Christmas this year.
Their home in Swansboro, N.C. was torn apart and times were tough as the Buchanans, like so many other families in the area, were trying to get back on their feet.
But Derrick’s teacher, Ms. Synan, reached out to the Panthers with a hopeful Twitter message to try to lift his spirits.
“Derrick Buchanan is a 12-year-old from Swansboro, NC who has been displaced by Hurricane Florence,” the message read. “They are living with a friend in Jacksonville, NC, driving almost an hour to school. He plays football, keeps up in school and didn’t even want to ask for any Christmas presents.
“HE LOVES the Carolina Panthers, so if there is anything you guys could do, that would be absolutely incredible and it would definitely make his Christmas so much better.”
Word eventually got to defensive end Julius Peppers, who has been determined to help victims of the hurricane since it all began.
Peppers sent a video message to Derrick during class, inviting him to the home finale against Atlanta. His reaction after realizing he’s going to his first NFL game is priceless.
At the game, Peppers had another surprise: tickets to Super Bowl LIII.
“Best Christmas ever,” Derrick’s mom said.
Be sure to check out the video below for the full story on Derrick’s special day courtesy of Peppers and the Panthers.