Monday, May 7, 2012

Cancer-stricken teen grants wish to entire school

King hugs a classmate during the celebration.
Rayshawn King's leukemia is in remission. That's great news in and of itself. Yet, there's more - a lot more. King is a senior at Middle Creek (N.C.) High School where he has excelled in football and basketball. He made headlines earlier this school year because he chose to play football while undergoing chemotherapy. Many young people were inspired by his courage and will to maintain a normal life. His story caught the attention of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the organization contacted him and offered to grant a wish. Like any teenager, King jumped at the opportunity. He asked to meet and hang out with Miami Heat forward LeBron James during NBA All-Star Weekend last February.

Who could blame him for asking such a thing? If you're going to do it, you may as well do it big. King had a sudden change of heart, though. He told the News & Observer, "I had made a selfish wish. I had a chance to really touch people and I was missing it. Why not give back to the people who cared for me? They helped me. Why not say 'Thank you?'" King re-submitted his request to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Instead of hanging out with LeBron, he asked for lunch to be provided to the more than 1,900 students, faculty and staff at Middle Creek. The restaurant of choice was Chick-fil-A and the cafeteria was appropriately decorated for the school-wide celebration. Teachers dressed up in cow suits and everyone had a great time.

Middle Creek stood by King when times were tough. The football team organized a fundraiser for King and his family during a game in 2010. Countless cards, balloons and well-wishes adorned his room as he was recovering. A consistent stream of visitors also let King know he was not in this fight alone. He further commented on what the Middle Creek support did for him. "Some of these people say that I'm an inspiration, but they are my inspiration." King will continue giving to others as he plans to major in nursing when he begins his studies at North Carolina Central University this fall - on an academic scholarship no less. Our young people can do great things when we all stand with them. Remember, when you hold someone up, that means you're standing too. Until next time...

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