In 2011 a year before I became pregnant with my son, Von, I was watching a Denver Bronco game. It was a really nice fall day, and the Broncos were winning. I’ll never forget the hard hitting line backer that seemed to run in and out of various coverages. He would strip the ball from the opposing quarterback’s hands, and he had a ferocity in how he attacked the opponents and drove them in to the ground. I looked at my husband and said “Von Miller is a beast.” I had been a fan of his since his day at the draft. He appeared so different than the rest of the players around him. Even the checkered shirt and purple tie he wore that day stood out to me. I love the color purple. He didn’t look like a football player, but he looked like an average guy going on a job interview. He made an impression on me that day.
When the Broncos picked him, I instantly became interested in the team. I know Von was a unique talent, and he could be the center of the team. It was clear that day in 2011, that he was going to be the reason the defense thrived. It wasn’t until that day I even considered the name Von for a future child. I looked at my husband, and I said if we have a boy I really like the name Von. The name felt strong and brave to me. It felt proud and invincible. I felt as though any man named Von would be able to accomplish almost anything. My husband looked at me and said, “We aren’t naming our child after a football player.”
A year passed, and in 2012 I became pregnant with my son. I remember bringing up the name again. My husband liked the name but said, “If we pick this name, we are not naming him after Von Miller.” As we explored the origins of the name, we learned it was a Norse name. It was a very old name. Then we looked on a website for the meaning of the name. Von means “hope”. I remember looking at my husband and I said,”Hope is a powerful word, and it means to me that despite all adversity we can always have hope.” That sealed the deal for my husband. When the 20 week ultrasound showed a boy, we knew our son would be Von Arthur.
In 2013 when my son was just a year old, Von Miller got in some legal trouble for driving without a license. My husband had this incredulous look on his face and he said, “This is why you don’t name your kids after football players.” The offenses were mild compared to what many players got accused of in the league. I tried to cut him some slack. He was then suspended for part of the season. My husband was convinced it was going to ruin is career, and I won’t lie I was too. I didn’t want to be wrong. I just wanted to be have hope that he would turn things around.
2013 for my son Von was actually really, really rough. He was diagnosed with Panhypopituitarism, and he spent a week on life support. He battled RSV, Whooping cough and had 8 ear infections. Both the Von’s struggled that year to find hope. However, as the year progressed and 2014 moved forward both continued to rally. My son started to walk in April of 2014. Von miller had 14 sacks, 42 tackles, and 59 combined tackles in the 2014 season. It wasn’t as impressive has his sophomore season in 2012, where he had 18.5 sacks. However, he was finding his way back to his star form.
My son Von rallied in 2015. It truly was the year of so many milestones for us. He started Speech and Occupational therapy in May 2015. He was diagnosed with Sensory processing disorder and apraxia of speech. Through our team, my son learned better balance, developed more advanced fine motor skills, and in September 2015 he learned to talk. In 2015, the Denver Bronco defense was #1 in the league. They were lead by a shaky offense, that had an injured quarterback most of the season. Thankfully the defense with the help of Miller kept them alive in the games. It wasn’t until the Super Bowl, that Von Miller really broke out. He swarmed around the field, and he tackled the quarterback numerous times. He forced 2 fumbles, and with his effort The Broncos won the game. He was named MVP of the game.
Last week, a week before the game, my son Von was delivered some terrible news. His heart is in need of repair. In addition to all the health issues he has, he now needs Open Heart Surgery. The past 10 days has been a blur for me since the news. I’ve had to leave work, manage care of my son, and prepare for him to have the biggest surgery of his life this spring. The cardiologist said his Mitral Valves will have to be repaired or replaced due to Mitral Valve Stenosis. This has rocked our world, and has changed our entire lives. We know Von will have many hills and mountains to climb through the surgery and recovery. Our lives are flipped upside down as I’m unable to work now due to the severity of his disease. It’s been hard to find an sliver of hope during the past 10 days. Last night as I watched Von Miller attack the offense, I felt hope for the very first time. Then when he was named MVP, I knew all things were possible.
Despite adversity and injuries, he came back and won MVP as a defensive player. When I woke up this morning, I realized Von Arthur is going to be the MVP of heart surgery and recovery. We have no idea what the journey will be, but we know he has hope. He can battle and beat anything presented to him. He has seen the trickiest offenses in front of him, and he can swarm and beat this disease. Thank you Von Miller for giving me hope last night. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You were true to your name last night. You were HOPE and you gave HOPE to me.