Fifteen-year-old Dae’shaun has always been an avid basketball fan. From watching the game on television to shooting hoops with his friends, basketball brings him immense joy.
Dae’shaun walked away from sports because he was having severe seizures that threatened his health. Dr. Anup Patel, a pediatric epileptologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, diagnosed Dae’shaun with a rare form of epilepsy.
Dr. Patel and his medical team worked closely with Dae’shaun and his family to try and fight his life-threatening medical condition through several types of medications and treatment schedules. For a child so active in sports, this “new normal” was a dramatic adjustment.
Dae’shaun’s heartfelt wish was to meet his favorite NBA basketball player, Chris Paul, a point guard for the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Dae’shaun saw something different in the way that Chris Paul played and presented himself – never cocky, never arrogant, always looking to improve – that inspired him and gave him guidance in his own life,” Dae’shaun’s mother said.
When Dae’shaun’s wish day arrived, he and his family were flown to Los Angeles to see the Clippers play the Milwaukee Bucks. Dae’shaun got to meet Chris Paul in person for the first time and talk with him. To make this once-in-a- lifetime day even more unforgettable, Chris Paul autographed a picture for him and gave him a signed pair of his shoes.
Dae’shaun’s mother recalled, “Chris treated Dae’shaun like they were lifelong friends, speaking with him about basketball and his future goals and even making Dae’shaun make him a promise that he wouldn’t take his job! Dae’shaun was overjoyed that he had gotten to meet his hero. The memories he made that day will last a lifetime.”
Dae’shaun’s wish gave him the opportunity to feel like a normal kid again. It also became a source of strength and hope that helped him fight his illness.
“While I wish I could take credit for the improvement in his health, that simply would not be true. It was Dae’shaun’s energy, strength, and the power that came from his wish that helped him become seizure free. He is one of the strongest people that I have ever met,” said Dr. Patel.
Since his wish, Dae’shaun has continued to improve both physically and mentally. In fact, Dae’shaun is now playing on his high school football team and was also able to try out for the basketball team.
“He is reminded that his diagnosis does not define him, and that he still has the power to achieve his goals,” said Dae’shaun’s mother.