From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Darrell Fry

At Walt Disney World Resort, we try to touch people’s lives in a magical way and that’s why it should come as no surprise that we recently announced this year’s Disney Spirit Award is going to University of Minnesota football player Casey O’Brien, who has been inspiring young children in need.

O’Brien, 20, is a shining example of hope and compassion dressed in shoulder pads and cleats, a perfect candidate for our annual Disney Spirit Award which we present each year to the most inspirational figure in college football. The sophomore on the Gophers football team has been using his story of overcoming bone cancer four times to inspire others and bring comfort and support to children facing the same medical challenges. And he has done it with a relentless determination and a positive attitude, battling through 14 surgeries, countless chemotherapy treatments and nearly 300 nights in a hospital.

Since recovering from his latest treatments, he has spent a lot of his personal time visiting other young cancer patients, telling his story and offering them the kind of hope that can lift even the heaviest of little hearts.

For his remarkable fortitude and dedication to helping others, Disney will present him with the coveted Disney Spirit Award live on ESPN during the College Football Awards show in Atlanta on Dec. 12. To learn more about O’Brien’s amazing story, check out this video from ESPN.

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