Rome Odunze

Rome Odunze's recent Tweet has an unbelievable, heart-wrenching backstory

How a six-year-old girl united two fanbases with one of the most bitter rivalries in college sports

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Wide receiver Rome Odunze made it clear this week that he'll always be a Washington Husky.

On Tuesday, the Bears' rookie responded to a heart-breaking video of a young girl sobbing into her father's arms. Why, you ask? Because she just found out her favorite college football player, Odunze, was no longer on her favorite team.

"I might just have to suit up in the Purple & Gold one more time 🥺🥺 Don’t worry Evelyn you can still see me play just in some new colors!" Odunze replied on the social media platform X.

The girl in the video is Evie Johnson.

Evie is six years old growing up in White Salmon, Washington State along the Columbia River, which sits right across from Hood River in Portland, Oregon. The Washington and Oregon fan bases are split 50-50 among the 2,500 people who live in their small town, her father, Kyle Johnson, told The Seattle Times

Bears fans can certainly relate to having bitter enemies across the border. A good number of them live among us in Chicago. We're talking about Packers fans, of course.

But too often it takes a tragedy to bring people of a different elk together. Unfortunately, this was the case for Evie and her father.

Evie was diagnosed with leukemia on March 22, 2024 at Randall Children's Hospital in Portland.

"Obviously, our lives got flipped upside down that day," Kyle told The Seattle Times. "Worst thing you can hear as a parent."

After a couple tough months of extensive treatment, Kyle posted a pair of before and after photos of his daughter, the latter of which was taken after she had gone through chemotherapy. Evie is smiling brightly in both.

That's when a person running an Oregon football fan account, @scoduckz, shared the post — along with the family's GoFundMe — with his near-11,000 followers. That person was Kevin Walker.

Within three days, fans of both universities had donated more than $15,000. The GoFundMe has since surpassed it's initial goal of $50,000.

"I probably pick on Washington more than I would admit, that’s part of the rivalry, right?" Walker said. "Even whether they deserve it or not. But I guess this was my chance to maybe make amends for some of the stuff I say, or whatnot."

In the viral video reposted by Odunze, Evie sweetly asked her father if the Chicago Bears were located in Washington. To which Kyle replied, "No, they're in Illinois. But he'll always be a Husky, right?"

Odunze most certainly agrees.

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