A young fan from Alaska with cancer got to meet his hero for a day.
As someone who has been covering sports for a long time now, I sometimes caution people against making athletes their heroes, since none of us really know these guys, even when we think we do. I’m pretty cynical about it, to be honest.
I reserve an exception to my own rule when it comes to Klay Thompson.
During the summer, ESPN runs a series of segments called “My Wish,” in which a famous athlete partners with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a child with a life-threatening medical condition. The latest, broadcast on Wednesday, features the Washington State Cougars alumnus/Golden State Warriors star and a young man from Alaska, Joseph Tagaban, whose wish was to meet the newly crowned four-time NBA champ.
Get your tissues:
If Klay isn’t the genuine, humble superstar he appears to be, it’s the greatest long con I’ve ever seen in my life.
These segments always bring back a flood of memories for me. If you’re not a long-time CougCenter reader, you might not know that my middle son is a survivor of childhood cancer. Diagnosed with leukemia just before his third birthday, we took a Wish trip to Disneyland a year into his treatment. Still can’t watch this without damn near sobbing:
This, by the way, is Trystian now — he just turned 13.
Sometimes people wonder how much good a Wish really does when a kid and their family are facing medical trauma. Couldn’t that money be spent on medical research or something? Let me tell you: It’s wonderful. It’s wonderful to be able to smile, wonderful to take even a small break from the stress and the bills and the doctor visits.
If you’re interested in ways that you might be able to help with the mission of Make-A-Wish, check out this link. Even donating unused Alaska Airlines miles can help a kid get where they’re going.
Oh, and this also happened yesterday on the slowest sports day of the year:
An ESPY doesn’t compare to winning his fourth championship, but it’s still a cool feather in Klay’s cap.
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