KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Little did Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt know just how much the team would need a good luck charm when he asked cancer survivor Lane Cunningham to bring the team good luck prior to kickoff of the AFC divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans.
Lane, an eighth-grader at Louisburg Middle School, was the Braden’s Hope for Childhood Cancer Hope Hero of the game for his fight against neuroblastoma cancer.
Clark and Tavia Hunt escorted Lane and his family onto the field before the game at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, Jan. 12.
“It was nice meeting you guys,” Hunt said. “I am glad you are here today. Bring us some good luck.”
The Kansas City Chiefs were in a team huddle following warm-ups.
When they broke and exited the field, each and every Chiefs player came by and shook Lane’s hand.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was the last player in line to greet Lane.
He shook Lane’s hand and then handed him something to remember the day with forever.
“I appreciate you coming out,” Mahomes said. “I want to give you the game ball man.”
The Kansas City Chiefs also gave Lane a Patrick Mahomes jersey, which he proudly wore during the game.
Everything that could go wrong early for the Kansas City Chiefs did go wrong. The Houston Texans scored a touchdown on their first possession. Houston blocked a Kansas City punt and returned it for a touchdown. Kansas City fumbled another punt and Houston took advantage, scoring another touchdown.
Kansas City was down 24-0.
The Kansas City Chiefs, with their good luck charm Lane at Arrowhead Stadium, roared back to take a 28-24 lead at the half. Mahomes threw four touchdown passes in the second quarter to lead the rally. It is the second time this season he had four touchdown passes in a quarter.
Kansas City would dominate the rest of the game, posting a 51-31 victory to advance to the American Football Conference championship game against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead on Sunday, Jan. 19. The Kansas City Chiefs became the first team in playoff history to trail by 20 points and come back and win the game by 20 points.
Lane has been a fighter his whole life. He was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma when he was 9 months old.
He was in treatment at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Children’s Mercy in Kansas City and Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City until he was 25 months old. Lane had chemotherapy, multiple surgeries and multiple patient hospital stays.
Kara Lowe Cunningham, and her children Lane and Lakin, lived with her parents in rural Paola during his treatment. Her parents helped watch the children while she worked at Ottawa University.
During his 9-month-old checkup they felt a hardness in his stomach. It was a softball-sized tumor. Lane weighed just 19 pounds. The cancer spread to his bones and he had some small tumors in is chest and thigh.
Kara Lane Cunningham and her family became advocates. She made several trips to Washington, D.C. to lobby for funding for pediatric cancer research. She and her family participated in several awareness events and hosted events over the past 13 years.
All of her children, Lane, Liberty and Lakin, are advocates for pediatric cancer treatment.
Lane, a 12-year cancer survivor, was the Hope Hero for the Kansas City Chiefs, going to the game with his grandfather Jim Lowe, sister Lakin, mother Kara Lowe Cunningham and his best friend J’Lee Collins.
Liberty was in Denver for a two-day Little Miss CPRA event and was unable to attend the game. Kara Lowe Cunningham had a 4 a.m. wake-up call to catch a flight Sunday morning from Denver to Kansas City to be at the game with Lane.
Lane is a huge football fan. He was the quarterback for the Louisburg Middle School junior varsity team the past two seasons.
Prior to the game, Lane got to meet several Kansas City Chiefs legends, including the “Nigerian Nightmare” Christian Okoye, Tamba Hali, the “Human Joystick” Dante Hall and Jan Stenerud.
He also got to hang out with Kansas City Royals gold-glove-winning outfielder Alex Gordon.