New Orleans guard visits Children’s Hospital for Thanksgiving celebration
“I said ‘Awesome.’ I got excited.” ZACHARY HART, who suffers from Williams Syndrome and has transverse myelitis, when told Eric Gordon was visiting
Right away, Eric Gordon and 10-year-old Kurt LaBeaud of New Orleans hit it off during the New Orleans Pelicans guard’s visit to Children’s Hospital on Friday evening.
And that was before Gordon found out that LaBeaud wore No. 10 on his Martin Luther King Elementary team and Triple-Threat Raptors summer AAU team, because Gordon wears that number.
However, they did share their love of basketball and learned that both were born in December. And, Gordon could relate to LaBeaud, who was in a wheelchair because of a hematoma in his right leg.
“It’s tough in a different way,” said Gordon, who played in just 51 games the previous two seasons because of injuries to his right knee. “You know, a lot of people were down on me because when I had injuries during this season, and that’s just basketball. This is a whole different situation where we were dealing with something in life.”
Gordon was at Children’s hosting a Thanksgiving celebration for the hospital’s children and their families. He started with a visit to a play and learning room, where he went from station to station, interacting. He was the caller on JINGO, a Thanksgiving version of BINGO involving questions and answers, and then BINGO itself.
Asked what he thought of Gordon, Kurt said: “He’s one of the best players on the team. He’s a good shooter. He’s better than Chris Paul and them.”
Others, such as Kenyon Miles, also 10, and Zachary Hart, 15 were equally excited. The visit clearly made their day, if not a lasting impression on their lives.
Kenyon has aneurisms all over his body, said his mother, Cinica Miller. She said doctors consider it an unknown disorder. The family has to come from their home in Lake Charles whenever things get bad.
“What brought us here this time, (doctors) said, is that he had mini-strokes to his head,” she said. “The blood pressure was elevated a little too high. They didn’t say how many, but they said a few mini-strokes to his brain. We had to get air-lifted here from Lake Charles because he was unresponsive.”
Kenyon showed a quick mind during JINGO, knowing before everyone that Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president, which allowed him to close out his board and win.
He also knows who Gordon and the Pelicans are. He was so excited, Miller said, he was ready to go to he learning room, but she had to take a shower. She had to catch up later.
He has an aneurism the size of a golf ball in each kidney, and doctors are just trying to keep his kidney functions going by keeping his blood pressure down.
“He’s been dealing with this since he was 3 years old — it’s been seven years now,” she said. “But he’s still walking, talking. He loves school. He’s an ‘A’ student (at Moss Bluff Elementary), even though he misses a lot of school. But there’s nothing we can do, except stay prayed up.
“Surgeries are out of the question because of the aneurisms.”
For Zachary Hart, 15, surgeries are a common occurrence. Zachary has Williams Syndrome, which slows his physical and mental growth. He also has transverse myelitis, which attacks the spinal cord.
His mother, Brandi Hart, said he’s had two surgeries the past week alone, and he has had three back surgeries.
But on this day, his spirits were as high as a lob to Anthony Davis.
“I said ‘Awesome!’ ” when he was told Gordon was coming, Zachary said. “I got excited.”
The visit left Gordon and all on hand clearly with their heart having been tugged. He proceeded to individual rooms after that to see children unable to the play/learning room.
“Giving back is more of a habit for me because just love doing that,” he said.