Pat Maroon Makes the Day of the Little Lightning Super Fan Battling Cystic Fibrosis

A 4-year-old Tampa Bay Lighting super fan thanks one of his idols for an unforgettable moment. Bradley Wombles, who is battling cystic fibrosis, received an autographed hockey stick Saturday night from Lightning forward Pat Maroon.

It was an unforgettable moment for Bradley and his family.

“It definitely put a smile on his face and made his whole year,” said Bradley’s mother, Juliane Wombles.

Bradley has been asking his parents to go to a game for over a year. On Saturday, he got his wish and watched his first-ever Lightning game at Amalia Arena. His family drove 4 hours from Crawfordville, near Tallahassee, to be there.

His father, Bryant tweeted about the special moment, tagging Lightning forward Pat Maroon, hoping he could throw a puck at him or take a picture with him.

In a few minutes, maroon replied writing, “I got you Bradley.. watch out for a stick during warm ups.”

Sure enough, Brown delivered, offering him a signed hockey stick before the game.

“It was huge. We fight so many lows with this disease. From one day to the next you never know what you’re going to go through so having it give Bradley that bright spot and it turned into a bright spot for our whole family. It was huge,” Wombles said.

Bradley must undergo breathing treatments for 30 minutes twice a day, and sometimes four times a day if he is sick. He must also take enzyme medication before each meal for his pancreas.

His mother, Juliane Wombles says he is a fighter.

In Bradley’s eyes, he’s like Maroon, as evidenced by his sign that reads, “I fight cystic fibrosis like Big Rig fights other players.”

“When we were done that day, he was jumping around the hotel room saying it was a good day,” Wombles said.

The Wombles family says having Pat Maroon shine a light on their day also helps shine a light on the fight against cystic fibrosis, making the moment even more special.

Cystic fibrosis is a progressive disease that affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. It occurs in about 1 in 3,500 newborns. Wombles says every day has its challenges, so when special times like these happen, she says they do their best to accommodate everything.

“This whole experience has been so much more than we expected,” Wombles said.

The hockey stick now hangs in Bradley’s bedroom to remind him of his first game and remind him to keep fighting.

Robert M. Larson