Emily Artus has been one of Sam Arneson's biggest fans since high school. The two had lockers near each other at Merrill High School. The star athlete befriended the quiet girl who stood out due to her battle with Apert Syndrome.
"Just a nice guy able to look past all the difference and be a good friend."
Emily never forgot that kindness. With Arneson set to become the featured tight end his senior season, she vowed to attend every home game. Her mother, Cindy, says Emily worked a job earning $10 an afternoon. She saved up the money to buy Badgers football tickets.
Once the regular season came to a close, Emily voiced a new wish. She wanted to watch Sam in his final collegiate game. Cindy didn't think the family would be able to swing a trip to a bowl game.
"It's a long way from home, kind of expensive, didn't think we could do it. Our community rallied around Emily after Sam got our family three tickets to the game."
The Arneson family secured three tickets for the Artus family to attend the Outback Bowl. They also helped organize a community fundraiser to cover the expenses for the trip. So, when Arneson runs on to the field for the final time as a Badger, he'll have his biggest fan in the stands cheering him on.