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NFL greats rally around Jordy Carper

September 21, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Some of the biggest names in the history of the NFL rallied around Jordan Carper at a breakfast fundraiser for the 10-year-old boy who recently had a lifesaving double lung transplant.

"For you to be here early in the morning at this meeting to help Jordy it's just fantastic," said Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas to the crowd of about 250.

Jordan, who is still in Los Angeles recuperating from the surgery, is doing well, said his grandmother Sherilyn Barnhart.

"He would have loved this," Barnhart said.

"I'm at a loss for words. There are so many people who have given so much for a little boy they've never seen," Barnhart said looking at the packed lounge at Charles Town Races. "Without everyone's help it just wouldn't have happened. It's very costly surgery. Insurance paid for most of it but there are so many expenses."

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Later, she read a letter at the podium from Jordan's mother, Missy Carper, to fundraiser organizer Sam Huff where she called him an "angel" and thanked the former Washington Redskin for tossing a football around with Jordan.

Huff appeared to be holding back tears as Barnhart spoke.

The fundraiser was put on by the West Virginia Breeders Classic as part of the weekend's activities for the 11th annual race. The event raised more than $5,500 for Carper's fund.

Huff, a Hall of Fame linebacker and president of the West Virginia Breeders Classic, said that when he got a chance to meet Jordan earlier this year, he found it hard to believe at first that the boy was ill.

"When I saw Jordy Carper, I saw a great looking kid, crew cut, great looking guy. I thought `There's nothing wrong with this kid.' Then I heard him breathe," Huff said.

The boy suffers from cystic fibrosis.

Former Washington Redskins kicker Mark Moseley said that one of the first activities he did as a professional football player was to visit a 10-year-old boy at a hospital in 1974. The boy had cystic fibrosis and later died from the disease as did four of his five sisters.

Moseley said he remains active in the cause because he saw what a horrifying disease it can be.

But while they gathered for a serious reason, the morning had its light moments, as the football players reminisced about their playing days.

Former Washington Redskin defensive back Pat Fischer, known as one of the toughest tacklers ever to play the game despite being slow and small, joked he put many of the quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame by allowing them to complete passes to receivers.

But Huff said Fischer was so good that the NFL had to change the bump and run rules because he stopped so many receivers at the line of scrimmage.

"He'd bite them, kick them," Huff said.

Huff, who as linebacker called the defensive formations, said he never bothered to look at Fischer in the huddle because "it didn't make any difference what defense I called because he was going to run his own defense."

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