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Journalism Showcase: E60 Provides Update On Family Of Nebraska Fans Affected By Cancer

Producer tells how tonight’s “Twice the Fight” feature on the Hoffman family came together during pandemic

Love, selflessness, and perseverance are among the touchpoints of “Twice the Fight,” a story debuting in a new episode of E60 tonight (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

“Twice the Fight” features Andy Hoffman and his family. They received national attention, including a College GameDay feature, in 2013 when 7-year-old son Jack, a pediatric brain cancer patient, scored a touchdown in a Nebraska spring football game.

In the years that followed, Andy made it his life’s mission to help his son and children like him beat the disease by raising funds for pediatric brain cancer research through his Team Jack Foundation. Jack, now 15, is healthy enough to play high school football. But, in an awful twist of fate, Andy was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer this past summer. Now, with limited time left, Andy is still fighting to raise awareness for pediatric brain cancer and support his son in football.

The story is airing as part of programming highlighting the importance of cancer research during ESPN’s 14th consecutive V Week Dec.1-12.

Blake Foeman, who produced “Twice the Fight” for E60, spoke with Front Row:

How did you get involved in continuing this story?
A friend who went to Nebraska sent me the story of Andy being diagnosed with cancer, and so I immediately pitched it to E60 management. I found out we still had the original interview tapes from 2013 so that we could tell the full story up until what recently happened with him, and that set everything in motion. Everyone knew the nature of the story and that Andy didn’t have much time, so we wanted to get him for an interview.

How did you do the interview?
We used some of the 2013 video, and I hired a crew to film the interviews that we did this year. I couldn’t travel to Nebraska because it was a Covid-19 hot spot, and neither could our reporter [Chris Connelly], and it was tricky trying to land a crew. But luckily, the family recommended a production company that they knew. I had a laptop computer set up, and I was Zooming the reporter, and they had a laptop facing Andy so he could see the reporter. The production company was familiar with Andy and his story, which helped because they knew what sort of elements they needed to film.

As producer, what do you hope viewers take away?
It’s a story about love and perseverance, and one of the things that struck me the most about Andy is even in his final days, he’s spending that thinking about other people and not himself. He’s not consumed with his own thoughts. I thought that was so powerful.

ESPN.com senior writer Elizabeth Merrill profiled the Hoffman family.

Andy Hoffman (foreground) responds to questions as E60 producer Blake Foeman (inset, center) and reporter Chris Connelly (inset, R) listen during a Zoom call. (ESPN)

– Andy Hall

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