(KUTV) Last October, football super fans Brian McKenna of Salt Lake City and his friend Jackson Smith of New Orleans were surprised to meet Drew Brees via Skype on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" -- but this time it was McKenna's turn to give some surprises.
McKenna was paralyzed in a freak mountain biking accident where he was thrown over the handle bars. He was paralyzed from the chest down and was breathing on a ventilator. McKenna and Smith were able to lift each other's spirits through difficult times in a unique story that includes the use of cardboard cutouts.
In his first trip away from home since the accident, McKenna updated Ellen on his condition.
One of the major improvements McKenna has made is that he is able to breathe off the ventilator. Because of the this success he has also been able to move from the hospital back home. He also told DeGeneres that Goldman Sachs, the employer he had before his accident, will build a position around McKenna's current abilities.
McKenna not only met his sports hero, but Brees also paid for a specialized wheel chair for McKenna. While Brees, McKenna, and Smith had met each other over Skype, they had never all met in person yet. Until now.
DeGeneres had Drew Brees come out and all three joined each other on stage for the first time.
"I've been so inspired by their journey and really their friendship," Brees told Ellen on the show Monday. "To be intertwined the way that we have throughout that journey is really incredible."
Of course Ellen always has to pull more than one surprise. She gifted McKenna with $20,000 to help his ongoing medical expenses, while Drew Brees matches the donation.
So far, McKenna's medical fund through a Go Fund Me account has raised more than $210,000.