© St. Petersburg Times, published September 15, 2002
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- What started as a nice gesture for a New York police officer ended up being a gift for a boy with bone cancer.
The gift: a ticket to Saturday's Michigan-Notre Dame game.
The story began when retired art teacher Charlotte Ambrose met New York police officer Neal Leclerc while she was visiting for a convention.
"We started talking of various wishes," Ambrose said. "I always wanted to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and a wish for him would be to attend the U of M-Notre Dame game.
"I graduated from U of M and said I would see what I could do."
Ambrose tried to grant his wish but learned tickets were not easy to get.
Then the terrorist attacks happened.
Ambrose sent Leclerc money for New Yorkers, and he e-mailed her photos of the disaster. But then she lost track of him.
Using a magnifying glass on a photograph she took with Leclerc, she learned his badge number and tracked him down with the help of Grand Rapids Police Capt. Ralph Mason. She also called Michigan, telling schools officials her story.
Eventually, the school arranged to get her a ticket. But with the game scheduled for the week of Sept.11, Leclerc decided to stay home.
Ambrose then found out about 14-year-old Brent Newton, whose cancer had recently returned. Brent's father, Dennis, also is a Grand Rapids police officer.
Ambrose said she is "just so happy" the ticket could go to Brent.
"I was flabbergasted," she said of her efforts to get the ticket. "I really felt so bad I wasn't able to use them. Then they told me there was a cop there with a sick kid, and I thought, it's got to go to the kid."
CALIFORNIA: Before Saturday's 46-22 victory over No.15 Michigan State, the last time the Bears had beaten a team ranked in the Top 15 was Oct. 5, 1974, a 31-14 victory over 14th-ranked Illinois.
GEORGIA: Freshman quarterback D.J. Shockley likely will miss the next several weeks after breaking a bone in his left foot. It was not known how he sustained the injury.
IDAHO: Idaho freshman Michael Harrington, the younger brother of former Oregon quarterback and the No.3 NFL pick Joey Harrington, played in the final two minutes of a 58-21 loss to Oregon. He completed 2 of 4 passes for 15 yards.
MICHIGAN STATE: Receiver Charles Rogers has caught at least one touchdown in his past 11 regular-season games, one short of the NCAA record set by Marshall's Randy Moss in 1997.
NEVADA: Running back Chance Kretschmer, who led the NCAA in rushing last season as a freshman with 1,732 yards, might miss the rest of this season because of a knee injury. He left the game against BYU after he was hit out of bounds. "It doesn't look good," coach Chris Tormey said.
NEW MEXICO: Quincy Wright, the nation's third-leading rusher, left the game against Baylor with a possible torn ligament in his left knee.
PURDUE: Stuart Schweigert set a school record with his 12th interception. Six others shared the record of 11.
WYOMING: The Cowboys' 35-13 loss to Boise State, their 11th in a row, tied a school record set from 1929-30. Next week, Wyoming plays at Washington.