A Star Athlete’s "Giving" Inspiration

While reading the paragraph below, I couldn’t help but get a bit emotional. That this athlete would sit at the side of Aiden (who was dying) until he woke up was powerful.

They became texting buddies and, one day, Sanchez surprised Aiden’s parents by asking, “Can I come over?” When Sanchez arrived, the boy was sleeping. Sanchez sat at Aiden’s feet, waiting until he woke up.

“He opened his eyes and there was Mark, sitting on the couch,” Lisa said. “He was so sweet.”

They ended up having a long conversation, like a couple of old friends. Aiden took Sanchez to his bedroom and showed him his sports stuff, including his hockey stick. He gave Sanchez a camouflage bracelet with the inscription “Binkley’s Battle.” Sanchez and Keller were wearing the bracelets Wednesday in the Jets’ locker room.
(http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/nfl/news/story?id=5991920)

Rather than attempting to wax poetic about the New York Jets quarterback, Mark Sanchez and his inspiration for a dying boy, I’ll let the story speak for itself.

Suffice it to say that this star athlete went above and beyond in order to make a very sick boy happy – if only for a few special moments.

I encourage you to read this article from ESPN as it may inspire you to improve your giving or helping of others.

You will find the story below in its entirety.

Happy Gswede Sunday!
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Mark Sanchez went to work Tuesday, preparing for a big football game. Some 40 miles away, a little boy from Queens, N.Y., was buried -- a friend of the New York Jets quarterback.

Sanchez and Aiden Binkley, 11, met each other only a few weeks ago, but they became fast friends. Binkley was suffering from a rare form of cancer, and he had only two wishes -- he wanted his two brothers to stay healthy and he wanted to meet Sanchez.

And so he did.

Aiden visited the Jets' training facility Dec. 15, and he received the VIP treatment, as if he were a big-name player making a free-agent visit. He watched practice and was escorted to owner Woody Johnson's second-floor office, where he met Antonio Cromartie, Dustin Keller, Mike Devito and others.

And, finally, Sanchez. The people who were there say Aiden's face lit up like Broadway at night.

"He sat there, beaming and smiling," said Aiden's mother, Lisa Binkley, who initially wasn't sure if it was a good idea to make the trip because Aiden was in such pain.

"Nothing meant more to him than coming here and meeting Mark and meeting the Jets," Keller said quietly Wednesday in the Jets' locker room. "Great kid ... a tough situation."

The 24-year-old quarterback was immediately taken by Aiden and his upbeat personality and his love of the Jets. A few days later, Sanchez & Co. beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh -- the biggest win of the season -- and Sanchez sent his new friend a game ball.

Sanchez was deeply touched by Aiden, who battled rhabdomyosarcoma, according to a 2008 New York Daily News article. There was a lemon-sized tumor that spread from his pelvis to his lungs, and he required 60 weeks of chemotherapy.

They became texting buddies and, one day, Sanchez surprised Aiden's parents by asking, "Can I come over?" When Sanchez arrived, the boy was sleeping. Sanchez sat at Aiden's feet, waiting until he woke up.

He opened his eyes and there was Mark, sitting on the couch," Lisa said. "He was so sweet."

They ended up having a long conversation, like a couple of old friends. Aiden took Sanchez to his bedroom and showed him his sports stuff, including his hockey stick. He gave Sanchez a camouflage bracelet with the inscription "Binkley's Battle."

Sanchez and Keller were wearing the bracelets Wednesday in the Jets' locker room.

"My man, Aiden ... breaks my heart," Sanchez said Tuesday during his weekly spot on "The Michael Kay Show" on 1050 ESPN Radio. "He's so tough."

Sanchez, choked with emotion, paused several times as he talked about Aiden, whom he met through the Teddy Atlas Foundation. Atlas, the boxing trainer and ESPN analyst, was a Jets special assistant under former coach Eric Mangini.

"He brought me so much inspiration. ... It's hard to talk about him," Sanchez said. "He meant the world to me. I felt like I've known him forever. ... I saw his personality. I saw his competitive spirit. I saw him fighting every day.

"I'm complaining about a shoulder. Are you kidding me? ... I think he was 11 years old, and he has cancer eating away at his body," Sanchez continued. "This kid is fighting every day. He's smiling every time I talk to him. I visited him at his home. I mean, he has to get carried up the stairs because he's so weak and all he wants to talk about is LT [LaDainian Tomlinson] and Darrelle Revis and Rex Ryan and me.

"Oh, man, it kills you, just thinking about it. I love him to death."

Mark Sanchez and Aiden Binkely. (Photo from Binkely family)

1 comment:

Bret said...

Powerful story....it's always the dying ones who seem to understand the joy of LIFE but we who have few REAL pains in life find it so easy to complain about frivolous issues that mean nothing in the BIG PICTURE of life.

Bret de Breton