New England Patriots fan Kim Torelli from Branford has never been to an NFL game.
But that’s about to change on Super Bowl Sunday thanks to one of her teammates at the Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven and a generous gift from the NFL.
“My stomach has been in knots,” Torelli said in an exclusive interview with NBC Connecticut. “I didn’t even sleep last night.”
For 10 years, Torelli has worked on the 14th floor at Smilow.
“She’s really brought so much love and compassion to our patients,” said friend and Smilow social worker Diane Viveiros.
Three years ago, Torelli became the patient. Now, she is fighting an aggressive form of cancer for the second time and going through a third round of chemotherapy.
“It travels,” she said, “travels all around so I just had part of my lung removed like in September.”
Through her battle with cancer, Torelli has followed her favorite football team. Last week, the Patriots advanced to their third straight Super Bowl.
“I just kind of blurted it out there like it’s something that was on my bucket list to do,” Torelli recalled.
“And I looked at her and I go, god Kim that would be like a Hail Mary pass, but I’ll try,” Viveiros said.
Viveiros said she called the Patriots.
“They’re like we don’t do tickets, you have to call the NFL,” she said.
After connecting with the right person, the Smilow staff on Tuesday presented Torelli with a letter from the National Football League letting her know she’s got three tickets for the big game.
“I’m psyched,” Torelli said. “It’s my first game at all. I’ve never been to any professional football games.”
The end of the letter had a special message: “Thank you for inspiring all of us here at the NFL. Have fun at the big game and keep fighting.”
Torelli is leaving Thursday night for a road trip to Atlanta with her partner and adult son.
“We have til Sunday to get there,” she said. When she arrives, she wants to check out the NFL store for some new Patriots gear.
Of course, Torelli can’t wait to cheer on Tom Brady as he tries to win a record sixth Super Bowl ring.
“As long as the Patriots win, we’re good,” she said.
According to Torelli’s teammates at the hospital, she’s already their MVP.