IN THE SEASON of giving, the
and the Eagles teamed up to grant one reader's ultimate wish.
Benjamin Maschino is an extraordinary Eagles fanatic. He'll tell you without hesitiation the starting wideouts in the 1988 Fog Bowl. He can name just about every starter on the Eagles' improbable run to the Super Bowl in 2004.
He'll tell you the yard line receiver Kevin Curtis was on when he dropped a ball that halted an Eagles comeback against the Cardinals in the 2008 NFC Championship Game. He'll also tell you during that game, he was in a hospital bed finishing up a round of chemotherapy.
Ben bleeds green. But he's also lucky to be alive.
"That  season, I was on my last round of chemotherapy and I felt like death, but all I cared about is if the Eagles were going to make the playoffs," said Maschino, 26, who is in remission from Ewing's sarcoma, a type of cancer that forms in the bone or soft tissue. A pair of "midsize" tumors in Maschino's right leg were detected early in their growth cycle, but still required bouts of chemotherapy to eradicate.
Maschino explained how that season helped him through a rough stretch of doctors' visits, hospital stays and medication, providing "something to look forward to each week."
But despite his fandom, Maschino has never been to an Eagles game. Not for a lack of desire.
"I've had chances to go in the past, but I was always sick and it hurt to walk," Maschino said. "I've always wanted to see a game live; I know it's a whole other world the TV can't show."
Tonight, when the Eagles host the Vikings in the first Tuesday NFL game in 64 years, Maschino and two guests will be front and center.
"I can't believe they postponed the game [Sunday] over a little snow. I've been waiting for this for 2 weeks now," said Maschino, who was informed by the Daily News on Dec. 18 that the Eagles granted his Christmas wish. "But I really appreciate what [the Daily News and the Eagles] did for me. You all don't know me, and to go out of your way like this really makes this the best gift I've ever got."
Besides life, of course.
- Kerith Gabriel