When 17-year-old Corey Groves was diagnosed with stage four sarcoma cancer and given a year to live, he had one final wish: To meet his hero LeBron James while attending the Christmas Day game between the Lakers and Clippers.
On Wednesday, Groves — who is from Brampton, a city in the Canadian province of Ontario — had his wish granted, with some help from fellow Canadian and Toronto Raptors superfan, Nav Bhatia. Groves was always planning to go to the game on Christmas, but last week, Bhatia surprised Groves to tell him that he had set up the meeting with one of James’ representatives.
On his Instagram page, Groves posted a photo of the special moment:
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Groves met James at the team’s walkthrough before the game at Staples Center. About a month ago, Groves detailed why getting to meet James was so important to him to Kevin Connor of The Toronto Sun:
“Before getting sick, I would eat, sleep basketball,” Corey said Wednesday during a break in his week-long chemotherapy treatment.
“Chances are (being in L.A. for the Christmas Day game) will be my last holiday ever. I’m hoping to spread the word and maybe get Lebron’s attention so I can shake my hero’s hand.”
Corey says he doesn’t only love James on the court but admires his work supporting under-privileged kids and first responders.
This is such a small thing for James to do, but kudos to him for actually doing it — not every celebrity would — and to everyone else that helped make it happen. Things like this are so much bigger than basketball, and it’s really amazing that James and everyone else who helped were able to make what might be this teen’s final holiday season a bit brighter.
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