When Patrick Mahomes steps on the field Feb. 2 in Miami to lead the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, he’ll have a small piece of Hays with him that has provided a huge inspiration.

The yellow band on his left wrist is stamped “Sophia Strong” in support of Sophia Linenberger, a Hays teenager who underwent treatment last year for a rare cancer.

Sophia, 16, was diagnosed just over a year ago with Ewing sarcoma, a cancer of the bones and soft tissue around the bone. Only about 200 children and young adults are diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma each year, according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Sophia received radiation and chemotherapy — as often as five days a week — at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. In November, her cancer was declared to be in remission. She continues to undergo physical therapy to regain her strength, but she has progressed from using a wheelchair to a walker most of the time. She returned on Tuesday to classes at Thomas More Prep-Marian, where she is a sophomore and looks forward to playing softball again.

It was also in November that Sophia was invited to Kansas City to represent Children’s Mercy Hospital at a gala for Mahomes’ foundation, 15 and the Mahomies. That night, the foundation gave $15,000 to 15 charities.

Seated at the table with Children’s Mercy CEO Paul Kempinski, Sophia and her mom, Jenny, and older sister, Holly, got their chance to meet the Chiefs quarterback when he made the rounds of the tables for photos.

Sophia, a longtime Chiefs fan, said she admired Mahomes because “he’s just really cool and because of his faith.”

The Linenbergers had been previously advised not to disturb Mahomes and the other celebrities at the gala to respect their privacy, but Jenny took a chance.

“He took pictures with the whole group, the whole table,” Jenny said. “Just as he is walking off, I grabbed his arm.”

She asked Mahomes to take a picture with just Sophia, and he agreed. Holly got in the photo as well, since, as Jenny said, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Sophia always carries the wristbands to give to people, and before Mahomes left again, Jenny gave him one. Mahomes looked at it, put it on and went back to his table.

“He came back and he told her to watch the next game, that bracelet would be on,” Jenny said.

The Linenbergers also gave a wristband to Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, Jenny’s favorite Kansas City player, at the gala.

“He’s really nice. He hugged me like five times,” Sophia said.

“I almost fainted,” her mother said.

That next week was a bye week for the Chiefs, so the family had to wait. But sure enough, when they watched the next game on TV, the yellow bracelet was on Mahomes' left wrist.

“It was really cool. We paused the TV and took all kinds of pictures of it,” Sophia said.

Apparently, the yellow band has stayed on Mahomes’ wrist.

“We watch the game every time and you can see her bracelet,” Jenny said.

Mahomes wears the yellow wristband under his play call wristband on his left arm, along with wristbands from other children.

Sophia said she has even seen Mahomes wearing her wristband in photos on the Instagram account of Brittany Matthews, his girlfriend.

“When he was having Thanksgiving I saw my wristband,” Sophia said.

Seeing Mahomes wear the wristband isn’t just exciting, Sophia said.

“I was just really inspired because he kept his promise, and that was just really cool,” she said.

Keeping that promise even turned her California-born, Raiders-loving mom into a Chiefs fan, too.

Sunday’s game, in which Kansas City won the AFC championship for a spot in the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years, was especially exciting for Sophia.

“I was really excited because I didn’t know if they were going to the Super Bowl or not. Knowing he’s going to wear my wrist band is really cool,” she said.

“It says ‘Sophia Strong.’ I’ve been trying to stay strong throughout my chemo and radiation. I just hope it keeps the Chiefs strong to win the game,” Sophia said.