WASHINGTON — Washington Redskins’ wide receiver Pierre Garcon has big hands and a big heart. On Tuesday night, he helped raise money for a local teenager whose family needs a special van to accommodate his wheelchair.
“It’s better than scoring a touchdown and playing football,” Garcon told ABC7 at a fundraiser hosted by Paisano’s Pizza in Arlington.
“It’s all about just helping make someone’s life a little easier,” Garcon added.
Centreville High School student Juwaan Espinal has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound and not able to do many things other people take for granted. His family drives a sedan and puts Juwaan in a car seat in the back — an option that isn’t great for the 17-year-old, according to ABC7.
On Tuesday, fans lined up outside the restaurant to see Garcon. Each fan paid $25 to meet him, and the money went to Juwaan’s family so they could buy a specialized van that can transport Juwaan in his wheelchair.
“He hasn’t really been able to go out and go to the grocery store like you and I would be able to,” mom Ibis Espinal said to ABC7. “We just show him pictures of what he’d like on the grocery list and he’ll pick — that’s sad isn’t it?” Ibis says.
Juwaan isn’t able to communicate verbally, but his radiant smile is captivating.
This isn’t the first time Juwaan has gotten an assist from the Redskins. In May, Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III showed up at a school sporting event to help Juwaan’s classmate, Morgan Assel, ask him to prom.
Assel told ABC7 she knew RGIII was Juwaan’s favorite player. She arranged for Juwaan and the football star both to be at the school event.
The big surprise was launched when a hiding Assel and Griffin stepped out from behind a banner saying “I know I’m not as cool as RGIII, but will you go to the prom with me?”
Juwaan’s response: Yes!
“The Redskins and him make a great team,” Ibis said to ABC7. “He loves them to death!”