You never know the impact you will have on someone’s life. A year and a half ago I met Vicente at Miami Children’s Hospital. He was only five years old and battling brain cancer. I heard he liked basketball so I gave him a brand new basketball that had “MVP” written across it. The look of happiness on his face for that moment was enough to feel good. The whole room seemed to get brighter when he smiled. I shared stories with Vicente of marathon running while dribbling two basketballs and he said he wanted to finish a race with me one day. It was a very productive visit. His whole attitude changed it started with a basketball.
He could have let the ball sit in his room to look at it from time to time as a symbol of inspiration but that’s not what Vicente did. He dribbled it everyday. He dribbled it all over the place, even in the house. Some parents wouldn’t allow their child to dribble a ball in the house, but Vicente’s father said that when he heard the sound of him dribbling it was like the sound of his heart beating and he new he was winning the fight against cancer. When I heard about his growing passion I made a house call to see for myself. He still didn’t have hair from the chemo and was getting ready for another treatment but that didn’t stop him from having fun. First we dribbled one basketball, then two. We passed one ball back and forth, then two. Once again, at that moment I was satisfied in knowing I had mad the boy’s day. I didn’t know he was going to recover better than ever to his chemo treatment because his desire to play basketball would drive him. I didn’t know he would practice everyday in the house or outside. Basketball changed his outlook on cancer. It gave him something to look forward to.
When I heard about the Voices Against Brain Cancer 5K I wasn’t sure if Vicente would be there or not but I wanted to run for him. He was there and I almost didn’t recognize him. He had a full head of hair and looked so much stronger. He brought a basketball of his own and wanted to show me his skills. I was very impressed! He was handling the ball with ease and then dribbled both of my basketballs. The race started and it was fun. It took place at Tropical Park with plenty of familiar faces. The iRun family was very well represented. Vicente’s family ran as well. They all told me how much the basketball I gave him and the time we spent together meant. It was very emotional. He waited for me about 100 meters before the finish line and we crossed it together and I gave him the honor of dribbling my basketballs though the finish. A year and half ago he was in and out of the hospital. Today he is a cancer survivor! I had no idea the impact I was going to have on him when we first met. I just wanted to make him happy. What I learned is that every random act of kindness counts. I’m grateful to be able to witness Vicente’s progress first hand.
Doctor Dribble’s Helping Hands is an official nonprofit charity. I created it to inspire troubled, sick, or underpriviledged youth and buy brand new basketballs for them. I want to giveaway as many basketballs as possible. More than a toy, it’s a healthy outlet to stay positive and focused. If you’d like to make a donation please go to www.doctordribble.com/charity
You never know the impact,