Running back Rex Burkhead had an impressive Patriots preseason debut Saturday night, Tom Brady Jerseysgiving fans their first on-field look at the former Cincinnati Bengal who will be a big part of the team's plans. Thus, it's also timely to highlight a poignant personal connection that has continued to be a big part of Burkhead's life.

In 2011, when Burkhead was a junior at the University of Nebraska, Danny Amendola Jerseyshe was a personal favorite of Jack Hoffman, a 5-year-old who had brain cancer. Burkhead hosted Hoffman for lunch that year, gave him a tour of Memorial Stadium, and it was the start of a beautiful connection that is still growing today.

"I think in the meeting, they kind of hoped I would impact Jack and give him some strength. Hopefully I did. But I felt like he impacted my life as well," Burkhead said last week. "He gave me a new perspective on things I was going through, Dont'a Hightower Jerseysespecially my senior year when I hurt my knee. Just realizing it was nothing compared to what Jack is going through."

In 2013, Hoffman’s 69-yard touchdown run at Nebraska’s spring scrimmage went viral, earning him an ESPY.

Burkhead, 27, is on the board of directors of a foundation in Hoffman’s name, Julian Edelman Jerseysand he hosted a fundraiser this offseason for the first time at his high school alma mater in Plano, Texas, that he said raised about $45,000.

Meanwhile, in his short time with the Patriots, Burkhead and his wife, Danielle, LeGarrette Blount Jerseyshave become close friends with offensive tackle Nate Solder and his wife, Lexi. Their son Hudson was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2015.

“He was the first teammate that reached out to me, him and Matt Slater. Nate invited me over, and we spent an afternoon after their house -- I brought my dog over so our dogs played. We were over there Easter Sunday, too,” Burkhead said, Rob Gronkowski Jerseysnoting that they haven’t talked much about their experiences with children and cancer. “They’re great people, been through a lot. He’s great to have as a teammate.”

2. Tom Brady has one of the shortest walks from the players' parking lot to the front door at Gillette Stadium, as the quarterback has once again been awarded a front-row parking spot. Those are generally reserved for offseason award-winners, which is another reflection of the 40-year-old’s continued commitment to his craft.

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Founded as a fur-trading post in 1848, and later booming with the discovery of gold in the Fraser River, Hope’s rich history and scenic location at the base of the Cascade Mountains, on a wide sweeping curve of the mighty Fraser River, make it an excellent destination for all sorts of interesting attractions. In town, enjoy the serenity of the Japanese Friendship Gardens, or take a stroll to admire the many animal carvings adorning the streets. Created by local artist Pete Ryan in a project that started in 1991, these carvings amaze visitors and locals alike, marking Hope as the Chainsaw Carving Capital. See if you can spot all twenty-four!

Take the short drive east of Hope to witness the incredible devastation of the Hope Slide. Triggered in 1965 by a small earthquake, this was BC’s biggest earth and rock slide, causing millions of tons of rock to crumble away from the mountain, killing four people and destroying 3 km (1.9 mi.) of the Hope-Princeton Highway. Marvel at the huge bare patch as you imagine the unfolding events of the fateful January night. Other historical points of interest near Hope include the landmark bridge in the aptly named Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park, and the granite-carved Othello-Quintette Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon Recreation Area. A network of hiking trails, lakes, and green space in Manning Provincial Park and Skagit Valley Provincial Park also attract outdoor enthusiasts year-round.

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Hope is located at the confluence of the mighty Fraser River and the smaller Coquihalla River and is nestled between the mountains of the Cascade and Coastal Mountain ranges. The views are stunning and the outdoor adventures are endless: hiking and biking trails for every fitness level plus river rafting, fishing, boating, golfing, rock hounding and gold panning. Thanks to the unique thermal air currents above Hope, you can also experience the thrill of soaring in a glider.


Popular visitor attractions include the Hope Museum, Historic Christ Church Anglican, the Hope Arts Gallery, the Japanese Friendship Garden in Memorial Park and over 20 large wooden sculptures in the downtown core. These give rise to Hope's title as the Chainsaw Carving Capital. A new privately owned Chainsaw Carving Gallery opened in 2004.


The Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park on the outskirts of Hope preserves a unique section of the abandoned Kettle Valley Railway - Here walkers and cyclists can explore the four tunnels and two bridges that give access to the stunning canyon gorge, an area featured in numerous movies filmed in Hope, including "Rambo-First Blood". World famous Hell's Gate Airtram and Minter Gardens are close by as are the Yale Heritage Site, the Hope Slide and Bridal Falls. Both E.C. Manning and the Skagit Valley Provincial Parks are accessed from Hope; they offer miles of wilderness trails, wild rivers and pristine lakes. In the winter, there is downhill and cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing at Manning Park Resort as well as snowmobiling at the Coquihalla Summit.


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