With his cancer in remission, Rashawn uses his wish to thank all 1,900 students, staff and faculty at his high school.
In June of 2010, Rashawn King was a highly touted running back in the state of North Carolina as a high school sophomore. He enjoyed the physical contact of football in which he was bigger, faster and more athletic than others on the field. On the field, success came easily.
While attending a football camp at East Carolina University, something began to feel different. All of sudden, simple pass patterns that he performed many times in the past became difficult. He started to feel dizzy, tired and out of breath. At first, everyone thought that he was just overexerting himself by playing both football and basketball. It wasn’t until a visit to Raleigh Pediatrics revealed something much worse: cancer. More specifically, leukemia.
Upon hearing the news, Rashawn immediately thought it meant a death sentence, especially after his grandmother passed away from breast cancer and his uncle died of pancreatic cancer. What followed was a grueling 2 ½ months in intensive care in which in his weight dropped significantly. He appeared swollen and ached so much that he needed assistance to walk. His doctors told the family that if he hadn’t gone to the hospital when he did, he would have surely died within 24-48 hours.
During his stay at the hospital, his high school community at Middle Creek began to show its support. Upon hearing the news of his condition, his football team, coaches, teachers and classmates spent numerous hours in the hospital hallways waiting and praying for better news. They rallied to hold fundraisers to help the family offset the rising medical costs. After a brief visit from N.C. State assistant football coach Dana Bible, also a leukemia patient who had recently overcome his condition, told Rashawn to “get his butt out of bed” things started to get better. Rashawn’s competitive fire was back.
Rashawn learned that he was eligible to receive a wish from Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina . He knew exactly what he wanted to do with his wish: meet his hero, NBA superstar LeBron James. As the chapter began to make plans to grant his wish, he started to feel differently. He remembered all of the support that his community had shown him and his family. He began to feel “selfish” for choosing that wish and instead wanted “to really touch people.” So instead of jet setting to the NBA All-Star Game, Rashawn wanted to say thanks. He did so by feeding lunch to the entire student body, faculty and staff at Middle Creek High School, more than 1,900 people. He hugged almost every student and staff member as they entered the lunch line. The atmosphere at Rashawn’s wish lunch was electric. You could feel the excitement in the air and the pride everyone felt to know Rashawn had beat the odds.
“This experience has changed my attitude,” Rashawn stated afterward. “I’m more positive, and very thankful, determined and motivated. Since I’ve beaten this cancer, I feel like I can take on anything.”
Attending North Carolina Central University and a member of the men’s basketball team, Rashawn is currently in remission although his chemo routine continues through September 24, 2013.