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Man's rabid devotion to Packers saves his life

Dec 30, 2009, 11:00 AM EDT

First of all, the headline does not refer to the guy in the picture here. Although if he were to bite you, I would consider rabies shots. But rather it refers to Jim Becker, 79, who has been koo-koo for the Packers since Gone With the Wind was first released in theaters. In that time he’s attended 206 home games — missing only three — and in the 1950s actually began selling his own blood in order to afford tickets. And that’s where the saving his life part comes in.

After 23 years of selling blood quarterly, a routine physical revealed that Becker had a rare and fatal disorder that causes excess iron in his blood — the same disease that killed his father at age 43.

Since Becker, now 79, didn’t know he had the same disorder, he had no idea he had been keeping the disease from shutting down his vital organs by having blood drawn regularly.

“There’s no cure for it,” Becker told WDJT. “They said the only way to lessen it was to give blood, because the blood draws the iron out of the system.”

Becker has been nominated for the Packers Fan Hall of Fame, voting for which began on Sunday. The guy in the picture? Already a member of the Arby’s Hall of Fame.
All of Becker’s time has not been devoted to the Packers; after all, he has 11 kids.

Jim still continues to give blood to stay healthy, now that his season tickets have been passed on to several of his 11 children — who were all infected with his same love of the Packers, except one daughter.

“But her daugther is a die-hard fan and named her son Vincent after Vince Lombardi,” laughed Jim, adding that all 25 grandkids are also Packers fans except one, a grandson who somehow became a Bears fan.

That child is of course an outcast, roaming from town to town to hide his shame.
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Devotion to Packers Saves Man’s Life [GNN]
Packers fan says team saved his life [CBS58]

  1. David Herman - Dec 30, 2009 at 2:32 PM

    Hey, at least the guy is wearing pasties. Can you imagine if he weren’t?

  2. Jim G - Dec 30, 2009 at 2:32 PM

    Why is no one actually looking at this fellow? Have they already been blinded?

  3. Barry - Dec 30, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    Awesome story, but how hard is it to find a photo of a guy who is nominated for the GB Hall of Fame, been to so many games, is obviously well known in the area?
    Instead of this “fan”, getting his 15 minutes of fame for eating at McDonalds and keeping the brown bottle industry in business.
    (ok, and showing off his tatoo of the letter G at football games).

  4. Dustin - Dec 30, 2009 at 3:46 PM

    I doubt it’s a tatoo, my guess is guacamole and mustard.

  5. John - Dec 30, 2009 at 3:50 PM

    Does his iron-rich blood cause issues for those who receive it in a transfusion?

  6. Jokey - Dec 30, 2009 at 4:36 PM

    what about an update on the guy who survived a plane crash because of the Cheesehead he was sporting?

  7. Bordner - Dec 30, 2009 at 5:27 PM

    I believe he has Hemochromatosis. My wife’s Grandfather and Uncle had it. Although it’s a genetic disease and genetic diseases can’t be passed along through blood transfusions, very few places accept blood from people with known Hemochromatosis – in her family’s case, the blood was drawn and thrown out as waste.

  8. Don - Dec 30, 2009 at 5:34 PM

    Hemochromatosis (iron overload)patients have the best blood for tranfusions because it is rich in iron. This disease is hereditary and can not transferred to anyone else yet our great country still will not allow the blood to be used for transfusions. Why? Because any blood drawn from us hemochromatosis patients is thereputic. I wish we could get the lawyers out of this and use the blood to save lives.
    I am 73 and my father was 50 when he died of the disease. The gentleman in the article should have all his siblings and offspring tested to see if they have the disease also.
    This disease is not very rare when statistically 1 in 400 people in the US have it. Most don’t know it and will die at a young age.

  9. Jim - Dec 30, 2009 at 9:08 PM

    Hey Rick – curious to know what NFL team you support because it takes a real idiot such as yourself to put this picture in with a story that is genuine and simply a nice story.