CRYSTAL LAKE – Chicago Bears fans know Nate Collins for his defensive moves on the field, but 10-year-old Nadia Marotti will remember him for his dance moves off it.
The big defensive tackle blew off an NFL Draft party at Soldier Field on Friday to make a special visit to Crystal Lake, where he took Nadia to a father-daughter dance at Prairie Grove Elementary School. Nadia lost her father to brain cancer two years ago after a long battle.
“I think it is amazing. It is absolutely incredible,” said Nadia’s mother, Melissa Marotti, shortly after Collins arrived at her house in a black limousine to pick up his date. “It’s about Nadia having a good time. It’s been a tough situation for her but she is going to make the best of tonight and have a ball.”
The connection came about after Melissa Marotti went to Wayne Jett of Sideline Marketing in McHenry when she was looking for items to auction at an event for Voices Against Brain Cancer. Jett, whose father also died from brain cancer, learned of the father-daughter dance and facilitated the connection.
While the Voices Against Brain Cancer organization has helped in the healing process, Melissa Marotti said, with her daughters so involved they were just given awards as young ambassadors. But getting a chance to completely step away is a great opportunity, she said.
“It’s just so nice. Nate didn’t have to do this,” Melissa Marotti said.
Collins was supposed to help host the Bears official draft party Friday, but said it was a “no-brainer” when he heard about Nadia Marotti.
“It means a lot,” Collins said. “This is way more important and I know how much fun Nadia is going to have tonight and how much it means to this family. It was a great opportunity to jump in.”
Before the two took off for the dance Nadia Marotti confirmed she was a Bears fan and Collins said he could hold up his end of the deal.
“I’m a pretty good dancer,” he said.