Nikki Williams-Mixon and husband LeGerald Mixon are enjoying a boardgame night with the kids when the doorbell rings.
It’s to be the start of an unforgettable ride.
When Nikki opens the door, the uniformed man announces that there’s a package for Alex Williams. There’s just one problem: Alex is only 9 years old and didn’t order anything.
But after a few moments, the man hands his mother the package and leaves.
When Alex returns to the living room and tears it open, he can’t believe his eyes.
Yet, it’s not the gift but the note inside that sends the boy jumping for joy. Alex is screaming and hopping around, hugging his mom warmly.
However, the cheerful scene is a far cry from Alex’s everyday struggle.
A Little Boy’s Struggle
“My mom started crying, but I told her not to worry.”
That’s just why Alex Williams’s stepfather calls him ‘Little Trooper,’ always sporting a brave face. He’d sure need one for his battle.
It all started when one day he complained to his mother of fatigue, his bones hurting, and his stomach swelling. After a battery of tests, he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (A.L.L), a cancer of the white blood cells that afflicts mainly younger kids.
Meanwhile, his mother Nikki didn’t take it as well.
“I was completely devastated. I just couldn’t understand how this could happen to my son. I thought it was something I’d done,” she said.
In between his many hospital visits, little Alex loses himself drawing pictures and letting his imagination go.
Of all his doodles, there’s one recurring theme that gives him the motivation to go on. It’s wishful thinking, but sometimes all a child has are their dreams. And so, he draws it every night.
A Shaq-ing Surprise
As Alex takes it out of the box, he can barely believe his eyes.
Clearly, these aren’t for him to wear because he doesn’t rock size 22 shoes. But they are a gift from a special new friend.
Fast forward to the next day, and Alex, his parents, and siblings are miles away in sunny Orlando, Florida when they hear a knock on their van window.
It’s none other than NBA Hall of Famer and King of Kindness Shaquille O’Neal. He’s glad that Alex got his gift and letter that read:
‘Hi Alex, I can’t wait to see you on Sunday. See you soon.’
O’Neal partnered with the Make a Wish foundation, which gives sick children once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Only five are chosen to be televised on ESPN’s segment and the little trooper is one of the lucky winners.
According to al.com, the Williams family was treated to a trip to Disneyland, where they would visit Universal Studios and the Islands of Adventure. But when Shaq knocks on their window, the fun is just starting.
Shaq’s Monster Weekend
Williams and his brothers hop in Shaq’s custom van with a Superman ‘S’ on the roof along with an Xbox inside.
First, Williams enjoys lunch with Shaq, who gives him the head seat because ‘You’re the big man.’ Then, O’Neal got goofy, asking with a mouth full of cookies if Williams would like one too.
The jokes were over after the meal because it was game time. It’s the moment that Alex would doodle on paper and dream about every night: Hooping against his favorite player, Shaquille O’Neal, is about to come true.
Williams goes one-on-one with Shaq in a game of P-O-N-Y. The 7’1 Shaq is no match for the crafty, 4’2 Williams who wins the game. The boy even manages to dunk the ball, with a little help from a friend.
Talk about a weekend for the record books.
“It was an awesome experience for the whole family, but especially for Alex,” said his stepfather. “It seemed like we were only with him for an hour or so instead of the four or five we spent there. Shaq was so good with the kids. He treated them like they were his own. Words can’t describe what that meant to us and Alex.”
How Shaquille O’Neal Proves That Kindness Is the Best Medicine
Of all the time the two spent, perhaps the most valuable was when Shaq and Alex spent one-on-one time talking in the van. That’s when Shaq gives him some words of motivation.
“You got to stay positive no matter what.”
Then Shaq asks the boy what he wants to be when he grows up. He responds that he wants to be a surgeon.
“You’re going to be whatever you want to be, brother. A surgeon. Man, you’re going to be like, ‘this is Dr. Shaq.’ You’re going to be a doctor.”
Thanks to O’Neal’s kindness and good humor, this kid is now set up for a long career of success.
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