Luke Kuechly makes wish come true for woman with autism

By Rachel Wold

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is one special guy and has a heart of gold when it comes to his fans.

Jessica Hayes, who is a big fan of Kuechly, suffers from autism and cerebral palsy and is also visually impaired. And for her 21st birthday, it was her wish to meet Kuechly and “give him one of her famous hugs,” according to mom Leslie Burleson, per

Kuechly heard about Jessica through teammate Roman Harper’s wife, who is associated with a charitable organization that helps with her special needs. Therefore the All-Pro linebacker surprised Jessica by accompanying her to her 21st birthday that was sponsored by Dream on 3.

Prior to arriving to the party, Kuechly spoke on his surprise plan.

“I just like to think of myself as a normal guy. But if I can go down there and make her happy for her birthday, makes it fun and worth it.”

“(Hopefully) she’s not thinking, ‘Ooh … I wanted Cam to come.”

Once Kuechly arrived to pick up Jessica, he greeted her with a bouquet.

“I got some flowers for you. We’re going to make our way over to your birthday party, sound good?”

After getting Jessica situated into the limo, her mom whispered “My daughter is leaving with Luke Kuechly.”

After the surprise to Jessica, Kuechly spoke on the “Dan Patrick Show” and termed the birthday party as a prom and birthday all wrapped into one. He also called it the best invitation that he has ever accepted.

Kuechly said that Jessica had a wonderful time and that she loved to dance to her music with her friends. It was a fun-filled evening for Jessica and a dream come true topped off by Kuechly leading the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday.”

This sweet and simple gesture by Kuechly will be something Jessica can hold close to her heart for the rest of her life.