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Iowa student with rare cancer gets trip of a lifetime to Michigan football game

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa. (KMTV) — At first glance, Joe Miller might look like a typical high school junior but this past year has been anything but typical for him and his family. He’s living with the effects of liver cancer.

“It’s super rare, actually, the doctors said they’d never seen it. It’s usually a cancer found in younger kids or babies and I got it at 16 years old,” Joe said.

He missed his entire sophomore year because of chemotherapy and months in the hospital. Earlier this year, he received a liver transplant.

“It’s been a long journey for our family and one that’s still going on,” his father Dan Miller said.

After a rough year, family friend Jason Kaiman stepped in and made a huge gesture. Since Joe is a passionate University of Michigan fan, Kaiman paid for a dream trip to Ann Arbor. He took care of everything from hotels and gear to sideline passes.

“This past weekend, we got pregame and postgame sideline passes, and our seats were right behind the Michigan bench, like three rows up,” Joe said.

Joe also got to meet his idol, Wolverines quarterback JJ McCarthy.

“I met him on the sideline before the game, got to talk to him a little bit after,” Joe said.

For Kaiman, granting the wish was a no-brainer, calling Michigan games “life-changing” and “electric” for fans like Joe.

“I’ve been paid back … a hundred times over for the money I’ve spent. It’s just been an amazing thing,” Kaiman said.

Dan believes Kaiman’s good deed is reflective of Joe and his kind heart, which he’s maintained despite all his challenges.

“The things he’s had to go through, a 16-year-old kid’s not supposed to have to go through it. Unfortunately, cancer finds the best,” Dan said.

Joe’s mom says he smiled for 72 hours straight. While he’s still undergoing treatment, she reminds us all, the “world is full of gracious and generous people.”

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