Tears of joy and tears of sadness fill Matt Mossburg's eyes when he tells the story of the miraculous recovery of his courageous wife, Chelsey.
And when Chris Hope heard it Thursday morning, his eyes also watered up. Hope, a pro football player for the Tennessee Titans, and Chelsey, who was almost declared dead, believe they have a mission.
"We are a lot alike,'' said Hope, a former star at Rock Hill High School. "God let me be a pro football player, kept me free from injury, so I could be a role model to kids and do his work.
"He let Chelsey stay with us and he is working through her. The story she has to tell and the way she faces life, has fought back, has become an inspiration to a lot of people. That's why I wanted to meet her before May 14.''
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That night, the second annual Chris Hope Celebrity Basketball Game will be played at Northwestern High School at 6:30 p.m. Hope is bringing in many pro football players, including Hines Ward, if he misses the cut on "Dancing With the Stars,'' and Titans running back Chris Johnson.
The first game was played at Rock Hill High School last year and more than $50,000 was raised for Phyllis-Paden Adams, who was paralyzed in an auto accident.
Chelsey is this year's recipient of Hope's charity foundation, "IC Hope,'' and some changes have been made to raise as much money as possible to help the Mossburgs with their medical bills. They include caregivers for Chelsey and a nanny for their 3-year-old son, Asher Ethan Mossburg.
Chelsey was hit by a pickup truck last May. She was flown to Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) in Charlotte, where doctors told the family that Chelsey had suffered multiple injuries, the worst ones being a serious head injury to her brain stem, and a dislocation of her skull from her spine. The brain stem injury caused doctors to not offer much hope for her survival.
"The doctors told us to give it two weeks and we were going to meet on Monday to decide if we should take her off life support,'' Matt Mossburg said. "It was more than just being paralyzed. We were told she might not live.
"But the day before we were supposed to meet, the phone rang and her nurse said Chelsey had started breathing on her own. Her doctors were not expecting her to revive because the brain stem injury she had was so rare. Now we look back on the day and we call it 'Resurrection Sunday.'"
Chelsea was released from intensive care after four weeks and was transferred to Carolinas Rehabilitation at CMC for six weeks of therapy. During those six weeks, Chelsea made tremendous improvement, regaining sensation and movement throughout her body.
None of the funds raised will go to Hope or his organization. He made a personal contribution to the Adams fund after last year's game.
Giving back is one of many strengths Hope exhibits in his hometown. One of his joys of being a successful NFL player is delivering motivational speeches to youth groups.
He has also given away shoes to needy youngsters in York County, and last December financed a shopping trip during SCADA North-South Football Game week at Myrtle Beach for 44 underprivileged youngsters.
Hope takes pride in all events he sponsors that benefit deserving causes, but the basketball game has become his baby, with the help of high school classmate Katie Wall, and he wants to help as much as possible.
Tickets are $7 advance and $10 at the door. VIP tickets will be available for $50. Purchasing VIP tickets allows the holders to enter doors at 5 p.m. to participate in shootaround with the players and to enjoy light appetizers. VIP ticketholders will have seats behind the team benches.
Tickets can be purchased starting Thursday at: Rock Hill YMCA, Lamar Thompson, contact person; S.C. Bank and Trust (Main St. location), Teresa Davis, contact; Wing King, Jessie Gilbert, contact person; Honda Cars of Rock Hill, Joel Suggs and Cam Stewart, contacts; Rock Hill HS athletic department; Northwestern HS athletic department; Platinum Barbershop, Adrian McCorey, contact.
VIP tickets will only be sold at Northwestern athletic office and S.C. Bank and Trust. VIP tickets online are limited.
"Our goal is to help a deserving person from our county every year,'' Hope said. "We hope everybody will come out and support our cause, help even if they are not attending the game.
"We have added a silent auction, so if you don't get a ticket you can be involved in that or can make a private donation,'' Hope said. "We welcome anyone who wishes to help to do so.''
Hope and a cast of NFL players - Ben Watson, Phillip Adams, Johnathan Joseph, Sheldon Brown, DeShea Townsend, Anthony Smith, Ike Taylor, Greg Jones, Deon Grant, Alex Barron, Darnell Dockett and Cary Williams - play some hoops at the event.
Former NFL players Gerald Dixon (Rock Hill HS) and Jeff Burris (Northwestern HS) are back to coach the teams.
Chelsey, who can move her arms and hands, can stand with help. She said meeting Hope was a highlight for her and that she is overwhelmed that he chose her to sponsor.
"I'm so blessed,'' she said. "Chris has shown so much faith in me and is another of the wonderful people who has come into my life.
"A year ago I was a mom doing what moms do. But I've had to overcome so many obstacles the past year and never thought, 'Oh, I didn't deserve this,' because of all the good people who have helped me and my family.
"It just amazing who Chris and other people in Rock Hill have rallied around our family. I'm not anyone special, just someone who was chosen to live and help others who are injured.''