Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is making news for reaching out to a young man in Arkansas who is battling Sickle Cell Anemia. According to a report from Gary Burton, Jr. of KARK news in Little Rock, Arkansas, Lillard contacted 14-year-old Kayden Taylor via Instagram, greeting him and promising to send and autographed jersey.
Lillard found out about Taylor during a recent hospitalization, where the youngster received a blood transfusion to help him cope with the condition. Tommy Norman, a police officer in Little Rock, visited Taylor and asked him about his hobbies. When Taylor answered “basketball” and said his favorite player was Lillard, Norman posted the story on Instagram. Lillard then responded.
Burton, Jr.’s report includes comments from Taylor’s mother regarding Lillard’s impact.
Kimberly Andrews, Kayden’s mom says it made her happy to see Kayden happy.
“For him to take that time out of his day to think about him, that meant everything,” said Andrews.
Kayden describes his battle with sickle cell by saying “everything hurts.” Leading his mom to say she’d trade places with her son in a heartbeat to take his pain away.
Andrews says Kayden had to have a blood transfusion on Friday afternoon because his blood levels dropped very low.
But for just a brief moment in his fight, Kayden found joy, thanks to Officer Norman and Damian Lillard.
“I’ve talked to him on the phone a few times and his spirits are so much higher because of what Damian Lillard did,” said Norman.
The six-time NBA All-Star just completed his 10th season with the Trail Blazers.