Not only did South Carolina Basketball get to enjoy a conference win over Ole Miss Wednesday night, they also enjoyed the company of a young fan who had a wish to attend a game and meet the team.
Keldon Hemingway, 11, is a "Miracle Child". Each year, University of South Carolina students participate in a Dance Marathon event to raise awareness and funds for Palmetto Health Children's Hospital, our local Children's Miracle Network Hospital. Dance Marathon is the largest student-run philanthropy on campus with this year's event taking place at the Strom Thurmond Wellness Center on March 1st-2nd. Each year they ask some of the children who have been patients at the hospital for a wish and they do their best to grant them. Keldon was diagnosed with a tumor in the center of his brain at age six. Since his diagnosis Keldon has undergone several surgeries, multiple MRIs, and two different types of chemotherapy. With treatment his tumor has remained stable and he attends school full time and even recently completed a season of basketball. Keldon's wish was to attend a men's basketball game at South Carolina and meet some of the team members. With support from head coach Frank Martin and the basketball staff, Erica Nelson (Coordinator, Life Skills and Community Outreach in the athletics department) worked to help facilitate a great experience for him.
Keldon and his family arrived early at the game to meet the team and Coach Martin during warm-ups, even getting to sit on the pre-game speech in the locker room. They enjoyed the game from seats right behind the bench and vouchers for the concession stand. Keldon proudly wore his new men's basketball t-shirt and took an autographed team poster. The Gamecocks provided a thrilling game, beating Ole Miss 63-62. After the game, Keldon joined the team in the locker room to celebrate (great picture below!) as many of the players called him their "good luck charm".
Tune in to The Frank Martin Show on Sunday, March 3rd, at 11:30 AM and/or 7:30 PM on SportSouth for a behind the scenes video feature on Keldon's special experience with the Gamecocks. Tune in to this week's show on February 24 for a behind the scenes look at practice through Lakeem Jackson.
In addition to liking basketball, it turns out Keldon has some pretty slick dance moves! Check him out at the 2011 Dance Marathon event on campus: