>Well, if you heard about Dallas’ record snowfall yesterday, you can be sure of one thing: Only the truly motivated are braving the roads today. One of those is one of our patients, Destani Anderson. The 15-year-old cheerleader from Italy, Texas, is making the trip to Dallas to be a ballgirl in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, which will air live on ESPN at 6 p.m. tonight.
Destani, who received a kidney transplant at Children’s in Sept. 2009, was invited to participate in this unique opportunity by Zo’s Fund for Life. The charity’s namesake, Alonzo Mourning, is a former NBA All-Star who received a kidney transplant of his own during his playing days. Tonight, he will coach one of the celebrity teams that includes Terrell Owens, Chris Tucker and Dr. Oz. The other celebrity team includes Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban and will be coached by Magic Johnson.
“I’m so excited,” Destani said. And she wasn’t just talking about interacting with celebrities on national TV. She is genuinely excited about seeing some basketball. Her condition prevents her from actually playing, but she serves as the manager on the varsity girls basketball team at Italy High to be close to the game.
“I love basketball,” she told me. “It’s fun. It has energy. It’s fast-paced. And I like that it requires teamwork.”
For those of you who will be thawing out inside tonight, please tune in to ESPN to see our All-Star ballgirl in action. She’ll be the one with the big smile on her face. I’ll follow-up early next week with an account of Destani’s experience.