THIS is exactly the reason I was so excited to get back to New England, because THIS is what we're all about here.

I actually saw this story this morning on WMUR while eating breakfast -- a two-year-old named Branson Figueroa out of Nottingham, NH, recently had a second surgery for a rare condition where parts of his skull joined together prematurely. Obviously, surgeries cost a lot of money, and the bills started piling up for his family.

Branson's mom, Heather, was quoted with telling WMUR that they considered possibly selling their home and using whatever profit toward his medical bills. But thankfully, because we reek of awesomeness, compassion, and giving here in New England, the Figueroa's didn't need to sell their home.

Instead, online fundraising (which got a boost from social sharing and media coverage) helped bring it $88,000 -- including a $20,000 donation from Pats owner Robert Kraft, the news station reported.

That's not even the best part, because get this.

Now that Branson is back home (his second surgery was done in Texas) and recovering well, and they have high hopes that he won't need a third surgery, the Figueroa's are paying it forward and starting a nonprofit named "Branson's Thank-you," which will raise and distribute money to families in similar situations as them, according to WMUR.

And THAT'S what I'm talking about with how we do in New England. Sure, we're known as some of the most annoying sports fans ever (agreed -- we own it.) We're seen as not exactly outwardly teddy-bearish but instead have a pretty rough-around-the-edges exterior (it's not a negative, we're just more bluntish instead of super soft), but what a lot of people don't know about us at first -- we have some of the BIGGEST hearts you'll ever find.

For a family to go through what the Figueroa's have had to go through so far -- they could've just said, "Hey, thanks, appreciate all the help and support" after all of the fundraising was complete and Branson's second surgery was a success, but that was just the START for them. Now they're going out there and paying it forward because they know what it's like to be on the other end of it.

Here's hoping nothing but absolute non-stop AWESOME is headed the Figueroa's way!

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