Preston and Parker Jackson have had some rough days in the past 22 months.
In February of 2016, Parker was diagnosed with pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer, a genetic form of cancer that his father was also battling. Six weeks later, his older brother, Preston, was diagnosed with the same disease. In addition, both brothers have brain tumors that will eventually need to be removed.
Preston, 22, and Parker, 19, had a simple wish: to play catch with Tim Tebow, who they both look to as a role model.
So when the Tim Tebow Foundation learned about the wish, they sprung into action — and gave the brothers far more than they had bargained for.
The Foundation’s W15H program, which provides people with life-threatening illnesses with a one-of-a-kind trip, customized a multi-day adventure for Preston and Parker. (They have just released a video of the weekend, which can be seen above.)
On Thursday, Nov. 9, the brothers were surprised with a private jet ride to Opelika, Alabama. The following day, they had a surprise lunch with Tebow, where they shared their story with the 30-year-old athlete. (And yes, they received some Tebow swag.) That night, they had a behind-the-scenes stadium tour of Auburn’s football field. Tebow showed up to throw the football around with them.
The adventure concluded on Saturday, Nov. 11, when the brothers were VIP guests on the set of ESPN’s SEC Nation to watch Tebow deliver his sports commentary on camera. Following SEC Nation, Preston and Parker were surprised with sideline access to the highlight matchup of Georgia and Auburn.
For Tebow, granting wishes is one of the most gratifying things he does. “Preston and Parker are two amazing brothers who are fighting a rare form of cancer,” he says, “but are doing it with so much courage and passion! We set out to bless our W15H kids, but every time we are also blessed beyond imagination by their stories and perseverance.”
Tebow has long maintained that his charity work is more important than his career. “Everyone has to do something bigger than themselves,” he told PEOPLE earlier this year. “It’s easy just to say, ‘I’m a baseball player’ or ‘I’m a football player,’ and make that everything you’ve got. But we were made for so much more than that.”
“Of course I want to do well in everything I do,” he continued. “Everyone wants to be successful. But really, the measure of success is what you do for others and what you do for God. The sports, or the TV, or the money or fame: that’s just secondary. I’m blessed so much, and it’s a blessing to help others.”