WALLINGFORD — When she was admitted to Gaylord Hospital three weeks ago, Erika Van Buren noticed the hospital would be hosting current and former Walter Camp Foundation All-Americans.
Van Buren, who had brain surgery after it was discovered she had Arteriovenous Malformations, is a freshman at the University of Michigan.
“I was so excited because there were three (Michigan) players who made the Walter Camp All-American team this year,” said Van Buren, who is from Canton.
On Friday, she got to meet two-time Walter Camp All-American corner back Jourdan Lewis, a Michigan player.
Donning her Michigan Wolverine hockey jersey, she got to hang out with Lewis. They spoke about the season, school, mutual friends and most importantly how she was doing.
“She’s a great human being, a great Wolverine, a great Michigan woman,” Lewis said. “The things she endured and just going through it and fighting still and being the joyous person she is now, it’s amazing.”
Lewis, a Jim Thorpe finalist for best defensive back in the country, also spent time with Van Buren’s friends and family, even Van Buren’s sister who was wearing the jersey of Michigan’s biggest rival — Ohio State.
Lewis was joined at Gaylord by fellow Walter Camp All-American corner back Tre’Davoius White, who starred at LSU, and former Walter Camp All-American, first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts and UConn star Donald Brown. Also, former Walter Camp All-Americans, Donnell Woolford, Greg Skrepenak and Tarek Saleh.
“It’s humbling, it just shows you that you are in a blessed position,” White said.
All made their way around the room signing autographs and talking to patients. Some played corn hole and threw a football around the room.
Brown had a great time talking with some of the patients about his time at UConn.
“It means a tremendous amount to me. Connecticut was great to me and it’s only right to give back,” he said. “It’s fun to just reminisce about the days at UConn, it’s funny some people remember the stories better than I do. It’s really nice to see UConn pride.”
Also in attendance was the Walter Camp’s “American Hero Award” winner Saundra Adams and her grandson Chancellor Lee Adams.
Chancellor Lee Adams, who has cerebral palsy, is the son of former University of Colorado and Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth.
Carruth was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, in 2001, of Chancellor Lee Adams’ mother Cherica Adams.
Carruth hired the hitman to kill Cherica Adams, who was pregnant with Chancellor Lee Adams at the time.
Saundra and her grandson, with a big smile on his face, joined the players speaking with patients.