Notre Dame quarterback forms bond with four year old
DeShone Kizer's performance on the field this year has garnered the attention of numerous NFL Scouts, and will likely earn him a first round selection.
But one of his best performances this season came away from the football field,and the impact it had strikes deeper than any touchdown he'll ever score.
RaeAnne Hastings is like any four year old girl; full of laughter and energy, especially about her love for Notre Dame.
"The fight song is both of my girl's bedtime songs we would sing them to go to sleep but we have to change it up a little bit, so it's slower, more mellow, and softer," JudeAnne Hastings, RaeAnne's mom, said.
But earlier this year, that laughter and energy, turned to sadness and grief.
In late August, RaeAnne's father passed away.
"She knows her daddy's in heaven, he's her guardian angel, and she knows she won't see him again," Hastings said.
A day after burying her dad, RaeAnne turned to Notre Dame to help lift her spirits. She began watching the Notre Dame vs. Texas game, and one player stood out.
"They flashed DeShone's picture up on the TV and she said, 'Oh my gosh he's like me! His hair is like me, his skin is like me.' So she started watching him and that was her player," Hastings said.
The moment came full circle three weeks later as Notre Dame prepared to play Duke. RaeAnne and her mom stood in line at the player walk, and all RaeAnne wanted to see was her favorite player, DeShone Kizer.
"That's all she talked about so we were like,'Oh, maybe she'll see him, we'll try to do the players walk," Hastings said.
What happened next changed both of their lives.
"Devine intervention. They stop, and he just turns to her," Hastings said.
"Raeanne was standing right on the wall there and she looked so much like my little sister when she was younger, light skin, beautiful skin and she was looking for me as much as I was looking for her," Kizer said.
The connection was immediate.
"He says that he likes her hair and she says I like yours and I wear coconut oil in my hair and he says me too and this beautiful moment and every time he talked to her, she just lit up, and she smiled and she was happy, it was just pure joy," Hastings said. "People are put into your life for a reason, I believe that just like they're taken away, and DeShone was put into her life and to help her move on, to find joy again, to find something to concentrate on that is happiness."
And you could say it worked both ways. It's just RaeAnne who found a friend in an unlikely place, but a quarterback who needed a smile.
"That smile on her face is what really picked me up at that time, and maybe she'll be able to hear this one day, but that smile is going to go a long way, you know she's a beautiful young girl," Kizer said.
"For her, this was someone who came into her life at a moment where she was looking for something and to have him be so kind and do what he did..... is amazing. I don't think I could ever repay him for bringing back that sparkle to my daughter's eye," Hastings said.