One day after enjoying the biggest thrill of his life, just before returning home to Chattanooga, D'Marcus Dews suffered through a scary setback.
Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the 16-year-old Brainerd High School student who has been battling brain cancer since last October flew to Charlotte last Thursday for a weekend that included tickets to Friday's NBA game between the Bobcats and the New Jersey Nets, then lunch with former NBA superstar Michael Jordan at the Ritz Carlton on Saturday.
But as Dews, his father Tim, mother Cheketia Flippin and a teenage cousin were being driven back to the Charlotte airport, the teenager began suffering a seizure. He was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital, where after a series of tests he eventually was allowed to return home. But rather than flying back to Chattanooga as originally planned, the family was driven home in an SUV provided by the Make-A-Wish group.
"I can't say enough for how the Make-A-Wish people took care of us," Tim Dews said. "D'Marcus is back home and resting now. It was scary for all of us. He hasn't had any seizures since the first one that led us to have him tested back in October, and we'll go see his doctor to find out what kind of tests we need to have now.
"The weekend was really good up to that point. He was very excited to get to meet Michael Jordan. Really he's been on top of the world since Saturday. We all were. Michael Jordan told him not to give up, no matter how difficult things get, and I think that really encouraged D'Marcus and meant a lot to him. Jordan was really a down-to-earth guy. He took a lot of time to just talk with D'Marcus, sign autographs and have pictures made. It was really special."
Last October, without warning, D'Marcus suffered his first seizure, leading his parents to rush him to the emergency room, where a CAT scan revealed a tumor the size of a peach pit in his brain. Doctors removed the tumor and a biopsy revealed it was cancerous.
D'Marcus endured six weeks of radiation treatment and will go back for a checkup in April to learn whether he will need further treatments.
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293.