“The Dallas Mavericks make a fan’s dream come true,” is how Brock Hibbs describes the gift he got in the mail June 22.
After writing Mavericks player Dirk Nowitzki and sharing his life story, Hibbs received an autographed photo of Nowitzki that states “Happy Birthday.”
The 31-year-old Weatherford resident’s birthday isn’t until September, but each year for Hibbs is a milestone. His health issues started in 1984 when he started gradually losing his hearing. He was told by doctors that as he grew older, the hearing loss would worsen. Currently, Hibbs has about 35 percent hearing loss in one ear and 85 percent in the other. Then, in 1987, he was diagnosed with epilepsy and nearly died twice, he said, following seizures.
“Before, I had a photographic memory,” Hibbs said, noting that now, after suffering these health issues, he does not.
Still, Hibbs has a lot for which he is grateful. One thing he’s grateful for is the chance he has to get an assistance dog. After several donations from community members and businesses, Hibbs was approved for an assistance dog through Paws With A Cause. According to the organization’s website, the group trains assistance dogs nationally for people with disabilities and provides lifetime team support which encourages independence. Although Hibbs got his approval letter in March, the organization is still in the process of finding him a dog that will help him with his hearing loss issues.
“The dog will help me hear the doorbell, fire alarm and the telephone when it rings,” Hibbs said.
Of course, Hibbs is also grateful for the outreach by Nowitzki — but this is actually the second time he’s received fan mail. A big fan of the 1970s-era Brady Bunch TV show, Hibbs wrote to Florence Henderson, who played the mom on the show. In return, she sent him two signed photos.
When Hibbs wrote to Nowitzki, he told the basketball player that he was a big fan of the Mavericks, but especially of Nowitzki.
“What I like most is the way he gives back to charity,” Hibbs said.
Nowitzki started the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation in October 2001, in Austin. It is a not-for-profit public fundraising foundation dedicated to providing help in education, health and well being for children around the world.
“I especially like how much he helps kids,” Hibbs said.