“We Need One Miracle”
In 2019, Dametrius Walker was a sophomore student-athlete at Muskegon High School in Michigan. He had already received 10 scholarship offers to play college football. The future looked bright for the man nicknamed, “Meechie.” Then, a nagging knee injury brought him to the medical professionals who diagnosed him with Osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer. Meechie began his fight with cancer, which consisted of rounds of chemotherapy, sickness and setbacks. The biggest setback came in 2020 when doctors amputated his left leg.
Meechie is no longer focused on his dreams of playing for the Michigan Wolverines or playing in the NFL. Today, he is 100% focused on living. “I don’t want to die, especially not young,” said an emotional Meechie. “I know we all have to go someday, but I have too much to live for right now.” He has transitioned to Hospice care, which is always a difficult step. His mother says the cancer is spreading fast and that she doesn’t know how much longer his son has to live. His brother said, “We need one miracle.”
In the midst of all this pain and heartbreak, Meechie received a special invitation to join the Michigan Wolverines during practice. He was able to meet with the players and coaches. They embraced Meechie and made his feel like a welcomed part of the team. They even ran a special play for him at the end of practice where he was able to score a touchdown. This special day didn’t cure him, but it certainly helped. “It’s like I experience true love from the team,” Meechie said. “A real brotherhood.”
Joe’s Perspective – Perspective: A little over a week ago, my daughter hit a deer with her car. The insurance company deemed the car, “totaled.” This meant that she would never drive the car again and she would also be without a car for the foreseeable future. For her, this was devastating. She did not handle this news well. This was going to interfere with her ability to work out, practice and drive to school. I told her that what really matters is that she is okay. Further, I told her that she has to gain some patience and some perspective on the big picture. This story of Meechie is confirmation that I am correct. He lost his dreams of playing football and is struggling day-to-day to survive. His story is a reminder that we need to have perspective. I hope this story helps you understand what is truly important in life.
Joe’s Perspective – Kindness: The University of Michigan is undefeated and is one of four teams currently vying for a national championship. They could have remained focused on winning, blocking everything else out. Yet, the coaches shared this emotional story with the team. The team went out of its way to help a young man who needed something good to happen to him. He needed hope and support. The Wolverines made sure they delivered. Just like the Purdue Boilermakers did for Tyler Trent a few years ago – https://characterandleadership.com/tyler-strong/, the Wolverines served this role for Meechie. Kindness matters. If sports are supposed to teach life lessons, perhaps some of the most important lessons are kindness, empathy, service and perspective. I hope your coaches are teaching you these lessons too.
Your Turn: What lessons do you learn from this story?