HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Among the cardboard photographs of fans in the seats at NRG Stadium on Sunday was a cancer survivor with a connection to the team and a story to tell.
Dr. Kim Dunn is an accounting professor at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.
She wrote a tweet saying she taught Texans running back Buddy Howell when he was a student at FAU.
"A few years ago, a young man fell asleep in my accounting class," she wrote. "I had his classmate nudge him and we continued class without disruption. Soon thereafter, this student started coming to my office hours and making appointments for extra help that he could succeed. He showed as much or more determination than any student I've taught."
Dunn spoke with ABC13 after the Texans game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Howell honored her with the cutout as a family member who beat cancer.
"When he told me he wanted to recognize me as a family member who had survived cancer at the game [on Sunday] it really meant a lot," Dunn said. "I just wanted to world to know how special Buddy is and what a great person he is."
Dunn wrote she stayed connected with Howell even as she fought cancer after he graduated with a degree in business, minoring in accounting, and while on an NFL roster.
"The breast cancer diagnosis was the start of a difficult time for me," Dunn said. "After I made it through radiation, I ruptured my Achilles. After I ruptured my Achilles, I had pulmonary embolisms, and Buddy was there through every single thing."
On Twitter she wrote, "Last year, Buddy hosted my cousin, and dear friend, and me as his family at my very first NFL game. Instead of going out with his friends after the game, he went to eat with two
country girls from "The Cove" and talked with us for hours giving us a once in a lifetime experience."
Dunn tweeted the message as a lesson and a parable about what's possible when we look past the obvious.
"With all the bias and hate in the world today, I am so grateful that Buddy and I didn't allow racial stereotypes to define or influence us," she wrote. "I would have missed out on knowing an incredible young man."
Howell is in the third year in the NFL.
The 24-year-old played in 39 games for the FAU Owls and started in 16.
He ran for more than 2,400 yards and scored 22 touchdowns.
He was signed by the Miami Dolphins as a college free agent in May 2018 and was later waived. He was claimed off waivers by the Houston Texans in Sept 2018.
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Texans' Buddy Howell honors his former college professor for beating cancer
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