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Miles 'Rampage' Taylor shows Broncos' T.J. Ward who's 'Boss'

The Pro Bowl safety and his foundation created a "Boss of the Month" campaign for the 2015 season, and his first "Boss" is a 5-year-old with a lot of fight in him. That's T.J. Ward's kind of kid.

Miles "Rampage" Taylor didn't care that Peyton Manning threw four interceptions last Sunday.

He didn't care that the Broncos lost to the Chiefs or even that the AFC West leaders are a vulnerable 7-2 right now.

The 5-year-old might have cared that T.J. Ward got ejected since he was sporting his hero's No. 43 jersey, but since it was thanks to his favorite player that Miles was getting to see his first-ever live Broncos game, probably not.

In fact, the day was absolutely perfect in his very fragile world. And any day that happens, it's a true blessing to his parents.

Miles has Menkes, a disease so rare only a few dozen children in the United States have currently been diagnosed with it. Miles is just one of two children diagnosed in Colorado.

Menkes syndrome is a genetic disorder that makes it difficult for the body to distribute copper from food to the bloodstream. When the brain and other parts of the body are copper deficient, bone structure, skin, hair and nerve function are all adversely affected, often resulting in bone spurs, feeding difficulties, low muscle tone, mental deterioration and seizures among other issues. Most children with Menkes die before their second birthday; some might make it to 10.

And while Miles' life is far more complicated than most of ours, he is one of the lucky ones, having been diagnosed relatively early and been the beneficiary of some very helpful alternative treatments and clinical trials.

"Probably no one would blame us for feeling bad about ourselves," said Miles' father Jonathan about the difficulties that come with taking care of a child with Menkes.

But that's not who Jonathan and Beth Taylor are. And that's not who Miles is either. In fact, his nickname "Rampage" (given in utero for Jonathan's favorite UFC competitor Quinton Jackson) couldn't be more appropriate - the kid is a fighter. Just like his parents.

Instead of asking, "why us?" the Taylors like to use their situation as an opportunity to spread the word about Menkes so more children can be correctly diagnosed in time. Initial symptoms such as low body temperature, low birth weight and seizures are so generic that the rare disease is almost never a consideration, yet research shows that a diagnosis within the first 10 days greatly increases the child's chances at a better and longer life.

It was thanks to a nurse at Children's Hospital of Colorado who had seen similar symptoms in a child 20 years before in a different city that first suggested the outside possibility that Miles might have Menkes. She turned out to be right and now Miles has a fighting chance.

So the Taylors prefer the mantra, "why not us?"

And that's exactly why Miles and his parents were chosen as October's "Boss of the Month" by T.J. Ward and his foundation.

Ward - who earned the nickname "Boss" while playing for Oregon - likes to use #BossUp on all his Twitter and Instagram posts. The "Boss Up" campaign - launched in October with the help of his PR team from Synergy Management - asked fans to show how they have "bossed up" in their communities by posting pictures of their efforts along with the #BossUp hashtag.

There was an overwhelming response of outstanding community and individual efforts, which made the selection difficult. But Miles' story touched everyone, and it immediately became the obvious choice for the foundation's first "Boss." Ward is continuing the campaign every month this season, and each winner will receive two tickets to a game plus an autographed 8x10 photo.

"Miles doesn't have a lot of opportunities available to him, and we wanted to give him this experience of a lifetime," Ward said after meeting "his hero" on Sunday.

The inaugural selection came with tickets to a game plus meeting T.J Ward just after pre-game warm-ups. Ward also wore a special pair of cleats with Miles' name on them that he later signed and gave to the young fan after the game.

"It was amazing," Jonathan said of the experience. "T.J. was just awesome."

Miles doesn't have a lot of opportunities available to him, and we wanted to give him an experience of a lifetime.  -T.J. Ward

With TV cameras everywhere to capture the story on film, Miles was the center of Ward's world for a few minutes, and he was clearly enjoying it.

It was amazing. T.J. was just awesome.   -Jonathan Taylor, Miles' father

This is a big deal for a 5-year-old who needs a special wheelchair to get around, who uses an iPad for much of his communication and who often becomes over-stimulated to the point of falling asleep. Being alert for his meeting with Ward was an obvious sign to the Taylors how special this was.

"Miles was pretty energetic," Jonathan said, noting that that's no small feat. Beth added that when Miles met President Barack Obama last year, "he slept through the whole thing."

So T.J. should feel pretty good about Miles reaction?

"Absolutely," the Taylors agree.

"He knows colors and gets excited about the color orange," Jonathan pointed out. "We watch all the Broncos games, and he always perks up when he sees them."

For a little boy whose typical day consists of multiple medical treatments at home, daily speech, occupational and physical therapy, occasional trips to the hospital and lots of snuggling with mommy for comfort, the Broncos are always a highlight.

But with his fragile state of life where Miles' compromised immune system makes contact with people risky, and his physical limitations require logistical magic for outside trips, the fact that Miles was very healthy and the weather on a mid-November day was warm, made the Broncos-Chiefs game an extra-special experience. No matter what the scoreboard said.

"Today was great," said Jonathan. "It was really amazing."

Jonathan is an Illinois native who grew up a Broncos fan thanks to an uncle in Colorado who always sent him Broncos gear. While his dad would watch the Bears on one TV, Jonathan would go in a different room and watch the team from Denver (even when the 1985-86 Bears won the Super Bowl).

When he and Beth moved to Colorado eight years ago, she became a fan of that Mile High team too. So the fact that the Broncos bring out the best in their son is just fine by them.

But it's Miles who brings out the best in the Taylors.

"He has really united something in us for us to want to make his time here remarkable," Jonathan said.

Though Miles was given just two years to live at the time of his diagnosis, the 5-year-old has continued to outlive his expectations. This is why it's so important to Jonathan and Beth to spread the word about Menkes and help families and medical professionals recognize the syndrome immediately. They created a MilesforMenkes website and Facebook page as resources for helping parents and medical professionals understand it.

But mostly they're about making Miles' time here very special.

"Whether he has just a few more years or a hundred," Jonathan said, "we want it to be the best 5 years or 100 years he can have."

So 29-13 didn't matter one bit.

Being at a Broncos game - with their son who continues to beat the odds - absolutely did.