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Cougars set to Welcome Newest Teammate at Practice

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Philemon Anderson
Philemon Anderson

Tradition, Spirit, Honor - Issue No. 2 - Philemon Andersen

Today after practice the BYU Cougars will be welcoming their newest teammate and hero, Philemon Andersen.

Two and a half years ago the Andersen family started the process of providing a new home for Philemon, who at the time was living in an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Little did they know then what an impact Philemon would have on their family.

Throughout an adoption process that stretched over an 18 month period the family was allowed to send Philemon small packages at the orphanage.  They included things in those packages that would allow Philemon to get to know their family as well as possible without being around them.  One item in particular, a BYU football t-shirt, set the tone for Philemon’s allegiance once he came to the United States. 

Phile, as his family calls him finally made it to the US in August of 2009.  Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed with severe autism, cerebral palsy, intractable epilepsy, and developmental delays.  In writing about Phile’s condition his father said, "Due to his poor balance, and spontaneous seizures, he falls often. He wears a padded helmet to protect his head. When I went to his helmet fitting, my other kids said ‘make sure that the helmet is blue!’ It is blue and has been decorated with Y stickers." 

Truly Phile is a special child.  His family describes him a one who is very loving and affectionate boy who is quick to share a hug or tell you in his native tongue he loves you of. "Phile has a great laugh!  It comes from deep down and you never know when or what might get him going.  But, when he starts laughing, it is contagious and before long, everyone is laughing!"

Phile will fit right in with the boys in blue as two of his favorite things are throwing balls and eating food.  In fact, the first English word Phile learned was "eat!"  I bet the second and third words were "Go Cougars!"

In the words of Phile’s father, "Over the past year, Phile has changed our lives.  He has taught us what it really means to laugh, to forgive, and to love.  We are so grateful to have him in our family."

Truly the contagious joy and happiness with which Phile approaches life as a heroic quality we could all use a little more of.

Check back on Monday for a video of Phile’s visit.