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11 years old
acute myeloid leukemia
When Keshaun looks back on his time at St. Jude, it’s not chemo he talks about. It’s the basketball stars.
“He says, ‘Mamma, they are just so tall. They can touch the ceiling,’” said Keshaun’s mother. “He talks about how cool it was to meet them. He was just so happy.”
When word got out last year that Keshaun loved basketball, St. Jude arranged for him to meet some of his favorite NBA players, like Pau and Marc Gasol. The NBA supports the hospital through its Hoops for St. Jude fundraising initiative, and the dedication of these players to the children runs deep.
“Keshaun thinks of them as his friends now,” said his mother.
The NBA players built back up what cancer had taken away.
November 2011 was when Keshaun slowed down. He grew increasingly tired and didn’t want to eat. Then he started to run a fever, and he missed a week of school.
His worried parents took him to the doctor. Tests and blood work were ordered. When the results came back, revealing Keshaun suffered from acute myeloid leukemia, his family was shocked. Arrangements were quickly made to send Keshaun to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“We were familiar with St. Jude,” said his mother. “We’d even donated in the past.” But they never expected their son would be a patient there.
At St. Jude, Keshaun underwent six rounds of chemotherapy. His treatment was overseen by a caring team of professionals, determined to make him well.
Keshaun played Nintendo basketball to pass the time, and he obsessively watched the game on TV, cheering for his favorite teams and yelling at the refs.
Keshaun is now done with treatment. He visits St. Jude for checkups, and he is cancer free.
He's returned to the court, and it’s hard to tell he ever left. His hair has grown back, and he’s quick as lightening. The only difference is an extra intensity to his play.
“I’ve got one life to live,” he seems to say as he takes his jump. The look on his face is pure joy.