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He missed out on a lot last year. Fighting issues with sickle cell anemia had him in and out of the hospital. Through it all, he looked to the Indianapolis Colts for a ray of hope.
By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, firstname.lastname@example.org
As the Indianapolis Colts scramble to clinch a bid for the NFL playoffs, one fan says he’ll never give up on his home team.
“I love the Colts so much, I bleed blue,” said super fan, Christopher Sharp. “They represent the city of Indianapolis. They give me inspiration the way they’ve been beat down and keep coming back.”
Sharp knows a little bit about being beat down.
Diagnosed early in life with sickle cell anemia, he has been in and out of the hospital seeking relief for pain and other symptoms of the inherited blood disease. Sharp is in the care of IU Health’s Dr. Rakesh Mehta, who specializes in hematology.
He estimates he was hospitalized more than 30 times last year. On many of those stays he cheered for the Colts from his hospital bed. On Nov. 28, 2021, Sharp finally got his chance to see his favorite team face off against Tampa Bay, but he didn’t make it to kick off. Another attack landed him back in the hospital.
When IU Health team members heard of his disappointment they arranged four tickets to the Jan. 2, 2022 game. Sharp was overwhelmed by the opportunity to watch the Colts face off against the Las Vegas Raiders.
The game ended in a loss for the Colts (9-7) but it didn’t change Sharp’s loyalty. His wife of 11 years, Letitia, daughter Taylor, 13, and son, Chris, 12, joined him in the stands.
“I can’t begin to describe the thrill of being there and watching them on the field,” said Sharp. “I enjoyed every second of the game. It was great taking in the atmosphere – the halftime giveaways and a good old stadium hotdog,” said Sharp, a life long resident of Indianapolis’ east side. He played football and graduated from Warren Central High School.
Three days after his outing to Lucas Oil Stadium Sharp was again admitted to IU Health University Hospital. During his stay he received another surprise from IU Health team members – an autographed Colts helmet.
As he held it, he cried and apologized for his emotions.
“I’ve been through some tough times and I have to say the Colts brighten my blues,” said Sharp. He showed the helmet to charge nurse, Alec Stevenson, and said he never wants to put it down.
But when he does, Sharp said he would need to display it on his side of the bedroom.
“We live in a house divided. My wife is a Saints and Patriots fan. How did that ever happen?” he laughs.
Asked if he had any favorite players Sharp mentioned wide receiver, T.Y. Hilton, and linebacker, Darius Leonard.
And what are Sharp’s predictions for the playoff bid? “We’re going to the Super Bowl. I don’t have a doubt.”