COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - About 500 miles from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA, you'll find Richard Culliver, a southern boy but a Steelers fan.
"It's really, really cool to see how much this football team has embraced my son," said Stephanie McMillan, Richard's mom. "They have shown us so much love, Ben [Roethlisberger] and Troy Polamalu both."
Both players heard about Richard after a family friend wrote to them. So they each gave him a gift of a lifetime, because that may be coming to an end. Polamalu gave him a jersey and invited him to a game he hasn't yet been able to go yet because of radiation. Roethlisberger gave him a signed football.
On Oct. 21, when the Steelers played the Cincinnati Bengals and won, Roethlisberger took a knee on the field. When asked about it in his post-game interview, the quarterback said he promised a little boy who'd been on his website a few times he'd give it to him, so he held on to it for him.
So now that football is in his hands, and it's soon to be in a case.
And that's just the beginning of the joy others have gifted them with. There was the TV and DVD players, and the free ride with Santa in a Christmas parade. Richard is about to spend a week in Disney World.
The brainstem tumor he has is known for quickly taking lives and muting children's personalities in the process, but the latest gift, his mom says, has his old demeanor peeking through.
"I can sit there for an hour just answering question after question after question and that's how I know how happy he is and he has asked about Sea World, get to pet the dolphins," said McMillan.
And that's all part of the plan as they descend upon a free trip to the happiest place on earth. She says it will have meaning she never guessed it would.
"Even in devastation like this, there's happiness," said McMillan.