Giovanni Hamilton has long been a huge fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. So, the 10-year-old could hardly contain himself when he answered a FaceTime call on Christmas Eve.
Giovanni was hanging out at his Williamsport, Pennsylvania, home in his Eagles gear when his mother, Shannon Algarin, passed him the phone for a chat of a lifetime with quarterbacks Carson Wentz, Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld along with coaches John DeFilippo and Doug Pederson.
“[He was so] shocked!” Algarin, 33, tells PEOPLE of her son’s reaction. “He had no idea why I was handing him my phone for FaceTime! And then when he saw Coach DeFilippo in his Eagles gear he got really excited!”
She adds: “Carson is his absolute favorite player ever. So when Carson got on and I could hear that excitement in Giovanni’s voice, it was incredible.”
Giovanni suffers from Schwartz-Jampel Syndrome, an extremely rare disorder that causes abnormal bone and skeletal muscle development. The condition has left little Giovanni with permanent facial defects. He often gives updates about his life and condition on his own Facebook page — and often uses the page to highlight his love for the football team.
“Giovanni posted on his Facebook page how excited he would be to actually go to a game because he had never been to a game live,” his mother says, noting that Lindsay Condefer with the My Name is Lentil Facebook page saw the post and decided to help.
Condefer managed to snag two tickets to see the Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys on New Year’s Eve. And the players broke the news to Giovanni in the FaceTime call.
“Giovanni is the happiest little boy in the world!” his mom wrote alongside a Facebook video of the call. In the footage, Giovanni is shown sobbing and burying his head in his hands after hanging up with the players. “That was the reveal. That was him finding out that this all happened without him knowing.”
Giovani attended the game with his father, Gian, and had the time of his life, Algarin says.
“He loved it so much. You could just see from the pictures that he’s just beaming!” the proud mother tells PEOPLE. “It’s so cold right now and I did not expect him to stay outside for the whole game. But he refused to go inside and watch the game from the family room.
“He was not having it! He stayed outside the whole game. He was yelling at the ref. He just had the time of his life.”
Photos from the game showed Giovanni sporting a big smile from the stands. In other shots, the boy posed with players. Algarin says that the experience even gave her son a new dream in life.
“He said, ‘You know, Mom, I understand that with my disability I’m not gonna be able to play football,’ ” Algarin recalls. “He knows he just won’t be able to do, it but he said, ‘I can still be a coach! Or the general manager for the Philadelphia Eagles, and that’s what I wanna do. That’s what I’m gonna work for.’ ”
“I don’t think he’s gonna give up on this dream,” she added.