DETROIT – Aidan Hutchinson blasted his patent Michael Jackson leg kick as “Billie Jean” blasted across Ford Field on Sunday after recording the second sack of the first half against Washington. 2 overall pick inspired football, helping Detroit to a 36–27 victory by collecting a Lions single-game rookie record three sacks to end the game.
his inspiration? Five-year-old, red-headed Hudson Gazi.
“This game is dedicated to Hudson, a child who has just been diagnosed with leukemia,” Hutchinson said after the game. “He is a big fan of Lions, he is from my region. I sent him a video before the game. He was encouraging me. I am happy to find good sports for kids to spread such cause. That’s it. Raise a lot of awareness for such things.”
Hours before his second NFL regular-season game, Hutchinson recorded a selfie-style video inside the stadium for Ghazzi, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) Sept.
“Just keep going and hang in there,” Hutchinson told Ghazzi in the video. “I know you’re going through this right now, but hopefully you’ll have a little inspiration to watch our game on Sunday and keep rooting for me and dark little eyes in support of me and I’m gonna have you.” I’m on my sports tape on my wrist in a couple hours so it’s going to be a really good time and I can’t wait to meet you, man. Go Lions.”
Ghazzi originally went to the hospital on August 28 after spraining an ankle while riding an electric scooter. After contracting a week-long fever and two urgent care visits, her parents, Emily and Billy, realized something wasn’t right. They took Hudson to CS Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, where he was diagnosed with leukemia.
“He pretty much said that Hudson sprained his ankle to save his life because otherwise we wouldn’t have known,” Emily Gazi told ESPN. “We caught it really early and he has a really good prognosis. It’s a long recovery, it’s like 2-3 years with treatment, and he’s 5 years old, so he’s got to take his meds Trying really hard – and he has a port in his chest now that he has to deal with. He named the port Jimmy so we’re gonna navigate Jimmy, but we’ve got so much love and support that it’s kind of Heavy… we’re so grateful and grateful.”
Hutchinson’s mother Melissa struck up a relationship with Emily after learning of Hudson’s story via social media. Together, they created a Facebook and Instagram page called Hudson Ford Tough, hoping to inspire others to raise awareness about Hudson’s journey with leukemia.
Melissa sent a personal video from her son to Emily to show Hudson before the Detroit Week 2 game.
“These videos they keep sending to Hudson are making her smile with her ears,” Emily said. “Hudson knows how cool it is, but my other two sons, Brayden and William, are like, ‘Dude, do you know who just sent you,’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, tell them I hi Told.'”
The Gazi family are staunch fans of the Lions who attend the annual Thanksgiving Day game and live close to the Hutchinson family in Plymouth, Michigan. He has followed Hutchinson’s career from nearby Divine Child High School to the University of Michigan and now with the Lions.
Emily said the video was special and lifted Hudson’s spirits, which she described as a rough day with chemotherapy being hard on her body.
Hudson’s story helped fuel Hutchinson’s massive game on the field.
The last time a rookie took a 3.0 sack in one of his first two career games was in 2002, when Julius Peppers (Carolina Panthers), Carlos Hall (Tennessee Titans) and Ben Leber (Chargers) all did. He has now joined the list, entering all three sacks in the first half.
“That’s great,” said Hutchinson, laughing. “But I think it’s the culmination of every man on that defensive line. It’s everyone doing their job and I’ve had a lot of fruit this week, so I’m just blessed, and I thought I made the most of it.” Have picked up this week’s opportunity and it’s a complete team effort on that defensive line.
“Sacks are a very tedious thing, so you need to get everyone clicked and I thought we were clicking today.”