Punter Andy Lee was recently traded to the Cleveland Browns after a 12-year career with the San Francisco 49ers. After more than a decade wearing the number 11 on his jersey, he will don a jersey for his new team that bears the number eight. That number has a significant meaning to Lee and his wife, Rachel. Their infant daughter lived for only eight days before she passed away in January of this year. Punter Andy Lee chose that number to honor her life and the number of days she spent on the Earth.
According to a Yahoo! News report dated June 11, 2015, punter Andy Lee and his wife are parents to two surviving children. However, it was his third child, the one who did not survive, who is sometimes overlooked by others. Now, everyone will know her story.
Her name was Madeline. She was born on Jan. 27, 2015 and died a little more than a week later. Her cause of death was post-birth complications. During a C-section delivery, little Madeline swallowed some fluid. Due to breathing problems, she was intubated. The newborn was placed in the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital where she was born. On the fifth day of her short life, she contracted an infection, which ultimately killed her.
Despite having spent such a short time in the world, her life held meaning. Her father, new Cleveland Browns punter Andy Lee, said wearing a jersey bearing the number of days she was alive will “give her some glory.” The grieving father told the Cleveland Browns website, “She was here, she was a person but nobody got to meet her, nobody got to see her. She was really alive and really a person. It’s a way to honor her and kind of just give her some glory she deserves.”