Benefit to aid boy who has inspired Duke football team

Oct. 21, 2013 @ 11:07 AM

Anthony Boone had no idea at the time, but a friendship he struck up last April played a role in his quick return to Duke’s football team this month.
Boone, Duke’s starting quarterback broke his right collarbone on Sept. 7 and his status for the rest of the season became uncertain.
But during his recovery and rehabilitation, he needed only look to Howell Brown, the young cancer patient receiving treatment at Duke University Hospital whom Boone met last spring.
“Having him around just helped me with my injury,” Boone said. “He is fighting a life-and-death situation. I’m just fighting for my season. It gave me a positive attitude.”
Boone returned to the Blue Devils after being out for four weeks and has led them to two wins, including Saturday’s 35-22 comeback victory at Virginia.
Today, on the team’s day off from practice, Boone and the Blue Devils will be part of an event to help 10-year-old Howell Brown and his mother, Sue Brown.
The Garden Salon, on Erwin Road in Durham, is hosting a Cut-A-Thon from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. to raise funds for the family. Haircuts will be $45 with all proceeds going to the Browns, who are in town while Howell receives ongoing treatments for brain cancer.
Some of Duke’s football players plan to stop by Garden Salon. Howell Brown has been a routine visitor to Duke’s football facilities, including for home football games.
Sometimes he watches home games from Duke head football coach David Cutcliffe’s office, which overlooks Wallace Wade Stadium.
Boone, who sees Howell once or twice a week, said his young friend’s spirit is infectious.
“Our team loves him,” Boone said. “Everybody that we’ve introduced him to in the Duke community has loved him. His attitude is very bright.”
Howell Brown had surgery at Duke Children’s Hospital last year to remove a brain tumor. He’s been going through chemotherapy and radiation there ever since.
He and his mother have been staying at Durham’s Ronald McDonald House, which provides housing for out-of-town families while their children are being treated at Duke Hospital.
Without regular use of a car, Sue Brown sometimes pushes Howell Brown in his wheelchair to the hospital for treatments.
Boone said he met Howell Brown when he and Cutcliffe visited Duke Children’s Hospital last April. These visits are commonplace for Duke’s athletes and coaches. But, Boone said, Howell touched him a little more than some.
“Meeting him one time is not enough,” Boone said. “I kept going back.”
David Cutcliffe and his wife, Karen, have been involved with charity work for Duke Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House since they arrived in Durham nearly six years ago.
Like Boone, David Cutcliffe said that initial meeting with Howell Brown made a serious impression.
“On my calendar, I was planning it being about 20 minutes,” Cutcliffe said. “But once you sit down with Howell Brown, you are lucky if you leave within two hours. He’s been through a lot. He is struggling and learning to walk again. He is an incredible youngster.”
For more information about helping the Browns with their financial needs, visit these websites: or or