Daniel Foy couldn’t wait any longer. Just two unoccupied seats separated from Charles Woodson, the man of the hour at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

So Foy took a quick look around, then slid across to sit directly next to Woodson — the man he first knew as a hero but now knows as a superstar. Woodson smiled and turned to shake the 15-year-old’s hand.

It was the shining moment from Charles Woodson Day at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital on Thursday.

Woodson, who donated $2 million to the hospital in 2009, was recognized for his contributions to the Charles Woodson Research Fund and received the first-ever Champion for Children Award.

The auditorium was packed with patients, their families and doctors, each with a story of how the hospital, and Woodson’s growing research fund, have impacted them.

And Foy, now a freshman at Grosse Pointe South High School, had the best story there.

As his father, David Foy, explained to the audience, Daniel was born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left ventricle heart syndrome, an underdeveloped left side of the heart. He underwent three open-heart surgeries at the University of Michigan Hospital to counter the imbalance.

From a heart standpoint, the surgeries were successful. But the final procedure left him with plastic bronchitis, a rare lung condition, which led to the family receiving Hospice care. Daniel staved off the illness, but at one point was life-flighted out of Florida.

Thanks to the work of doctors and research at Michigan — the very system Woodson is funding — Daniel is a freshman in high school, with his soft voice the only mark of any noticeable illness.

Daniel knew Woodson as a warrior on the gridiron and a proponent for medical research.

Now he knows him as a friend.

“This means a lot,” Daniel said. “He’s a superstar, and he’s giving back to the little guys.”

Then he gave a smile — he’s still a kid.

“I get to hang out with Charles tomorrow night at a fundraiser.”

For Woodson, the event was more overwhelming than anything.

“When I initially thought of getting involved, I didn’t dream of any of this (attention),” Woodson said. “I would have rather had it behind the scenes … But after talking to (Mott major gifts officer) Tammi Carr, she really got me to understand that it’s really about awareness, getting people involved.”

Not many awards have passed him by.

A seven-time Pro Bowl selection with the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers, Woodson has piled up accolades from the Heisman Trophy in 1997 — his third and final season at Michigan — to being NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. And now he’s a Super Bowl champion.

But this recognition was special. When he stepped up to the podium, Woodson was quick to deflect the credit to others who have fought for the same cause.

Woodson bemoaned the naming of the day — Charles Woodson Day — saying it put the spotlight on him when so many others deserved it.

“I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade, don’t get me wrong with that, but a Charles Woodson Day, I really would like to share the naming of this day with everybody else,” Woodson said.

“Especially the families who are forced to be here every day for reasons unknown, who put in time with their children every single day to lift their spirits and keep them positive and give them visions for a brighter day — things will get better.”

He said the day should belong to the doctors, the patients and their families. And he wanted the day to be for his new front-row friend: “Daniel Day.”

And don’t expect Woodson to bow out of Ann Arbor anytime soon. The 13-year NFL veteran is committed to being the face and voice of the hospital’s drive for medical research.

“I’ll continue to do my part, which I feel is the easy part,” Woodson said. “I’ll help continue to raise money, I’ll continue to be a presence here at Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital Women’s Hospital, but you can count on me in that respect.”

When his son scooted over to sit beside Woodson, David Foy explained that Daniel hoped to one day become a sports journalist.

“I’ll be your first story,” Woodson finished with a laugh.

For Daniel and so many children in the room, he’s already given them hope and a story they’ll never forget.

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