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6-year-old boy who met with Favre loses battle

Aug. 3, 2011

The 6-year-old boy who caught the nation's attention and won their hearts when he was visited last year by his hero Brett Favre has lost his courageous battle against a rare brain tumor. Anderson Butzine died July 31 at his Oconomowoc home.

Born on July 9, 2005, to Jon and Michelle Butzine, life changed for the family in February 2006 after the tumor was discovered. Procedures and protocols met with varying degrees of success, but the tumor continued to grow.

Anderson loved to watch sports with his father, and was a great fan of former Green Bay Packer Brett Favre, often drawing pictures of him and tagging the number 4 on them all. As the disease took its toll, Anderson was no longer able to write the number correctly.

In December 2010, Favre and his wife, Deanna, paid a special visit to the Butzine home to visit with Anderson.

Jon Butzine posted a YouTube video of the visit, and it was quickly embraced by the media.

It was mentioned on ESPN, on Milwaukee-area news and radio stations. The Associated Press shared the news, and Favre even made mention of his visit during his post-game conference Monday night.

During that Monday night game against the Bears, Deanna Favre sent down a special towel for her husband to wear that had a backward No. 4. Anderson's mother, Michele, explained that as his tumor progressed, Anderson became unable to write the number the correct way. "I showed them many of Anderson's drawings of Brett. As the tumor progressed, Anderson made more and more of his No. 4's backward. As most of you know, Anderson isn't able to draw at all right now, so these are some pretty special pictures to us. Well, they were pretty special to Brett and Deanna too. Brett said Deanna knew he would know what the backward 4 meant … it was to honor Anderson," Michele wrote on Anderson's Caringbridge website, www.caringbridge.org/visit/andersonbutzine. "Anderson stayed up with us and watched every minute of the game," she added.

On the same journal site, the family updated friends and loved ones with the sad news of Anderson's death.

"Anderson went to be with Jesus very early this morning, around 3 a.m. We were no more prepared to say goodbye to Anderson this morning than any other day. There was no big or traumatic event … Anderson's heart rate decreased throughout the very early morning hours and he peacefully went Home. Jon and I were with Anderson and when it became clear that it was time for him to go, Jon brought Ella down from her room, we had a 'group hug' (Anderson loved them!) and prayed together," his mother wrote.

Funeral services were held yesterday at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Ixonia. "Although this has been one of our most difficult days, we are surrounded by the love of friends and family. Each of your messages has meant so much to us. Thank you! We are especially touched by the kinds words from Brett and Deanna Favre … Anderson had so much love for them, what a blessing to know that they loved him right back," she added.

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