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Dying weightlifter gets wish: meeting Schwarzenegger

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Updated: Friday, December 11, 2015, 2:31 PM

Todd McCaffery has a video chat with Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday.Courtesy Katie McCaffery

Todd McCaffery has a video chat with Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday.

An avid upstate New York weightlifter who is battling terminal brain cancer got a chance to speak with his idol: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Todd McCaffery, 52, fell in love with Arnold movies and “took him on as an idol,” his younger sister Katie wrote in an empassioned plea on Reddit.

The two spoke in a video chat on Friday.

“This has made his whole year, it’s incredible,” Katie McCaffery told the Daily News on Friday from Syracuse. “People and their kindness and generosity never cease to amaze me!”

Todd, who has severe learning disabilities and autism, was inspired to become a weightlifter because of the actor.

“He has all of his movies,” their mother Jenny told the Daily News on Friday. “He really loves to watch them over and over again.”

After Todd’s glioblastoma multiforme diagnosis on Memorial Day, Katie has been trying to track down Schwarzenegger and hoped to get a personalized picture for her brother.

In the Reddit post, Katie wrote about Todd’s passion for the “Terminator” legend.

“I want to see my brother’s face light up on his last Christmas morning, and an autograph from his idol is the best thing I can think of,” she wrote.

Todd McCaffery received a Christmas Tree drawing from the 'Terminator' star. Courtesy Katie McCaffery

Todd McCaffery received a Christmas Tree drawing from the ‘Terminator’ star.

Enlarge Schwarzenegger was a star weightlifter before he became an actor and governor of California. AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Schwarzenegger was a star weightlifter before he became an actor and governor of California.

Enlarge

“He was always lifting in his spare time, and even with his disability, was always incredibly fit and strong. Even though he can’t read or write past a second grade level, he got himself into such good shape that he had a full time job.”

The moving tribute went viral on Twitter with the hashtag #helptodd.

And as it turns out, Todd received much more than an autograph.

The “Terminator” star apparently checks the Reddit weightlifting page often, and sent a private message to Katie.

The “Terminator” star apparently checks the Reddit weightlifting page often, and saw Katie McCaffery's plea.THOMAS SAMSON/AFP/Getty Images

The “Terminator” star apparently checks the Reddit weightlifting page often, and saw Katie McCaffery’s plea.

“It was pretty cool,” Katie told The News. “I had messages from Mr. Schwarzenegger in my inbox, which is not something that you can say every day.”

In addition, Schwarzenegger drew a picture of a Christmas tree with the words, “To Todd, much love.”

Katie, an IT specialist at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, was instrumental in setting it up the video chat.

Katie is thrilled for her big brother, whom she says gets the most out of life despite getting “dealt a tough hand.” Todd worked as a groundskeeper for 30 years.

“He was the hardest worker that anyone ever met,” she said. “He’s overcome already so much in his life, we could not be prouder of him. And if this (meeting with Schwarzenegger) is going to happen to anyone, I am so happy it happened to my brother.”

dboroff@nydailynews.com

Tags:
arnold schwarzenegger ,
cancer ,
syracuse ,
upstate new york ,
daily news exclusives


Entertainment – NY Daily News

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