Pitt's James Conner receives Disney Spirit Award, dedicates it to those battling cancer

PITTSBURGH — University of Pittsburgh running back James Conner was honored at Thursday night’s 2016 College Football Awards, receiving the Disney Spirit Award.

A cancer survivor himself, Conner dedicated his award to everyone battling the disease and specifically acknowledged a 5-year-old North Huntingdon boy.

RELATED: Young boy battling cancer meets hero, cancer survivor James Conner

Channel 11 News first reported on Andrew O'Neil last month when he met his hero, Conner. Last April, Andrew was diagnosed with neuroblastoma -- stomach cancer. He has since endured 13 hours of surgery, countless needle pricks and radiation -- all leading up to his meeting with Conner, which included sideline access and hangout time in the locker room.

Following his meeting with Conner, Make-A-Wish sent Andrew and his family back to Walt Disney World. They were previously invited there, but the trip was cut short when Andrew got sick.

Conner tearfully accepted his award, saying he plays for Andrew and others like him. The crowd gave a special round of applause for the 5-year-old, who continues to fight his battle against cancer.