This. Just. Happened! Janneh could barely speak when his #ChristmasWish came true today. He got to meet @okcthunder superstar, @russwest44 today! This wish would not have been possible without the help of Janneh's teacher, @koco5news and @servemoore! #westbrook #russellwestbrook #NBA #Wish #WishComeTrue #ChristmasWish #Miracleahappenhere #BringJannehHome
It’s been half a year since a drive-by shooting left 13-year-old Janneh paralyzed from the neck down. Likely a quadriplegic for the rest of his life, Janneh has been unable to leave the hospital since the tragedy, not even to visit his home, until his family fundraises enough money to make the house handicap accessible.
Despite spending the holiday season in a whitewashed hospital room in the heart of Oklahoma, Janneh had only one wish this Christmas: to meet local hero Russell Westbrook, the Thunder’s superstar point guard.
But when a hospital phone rang on Monday afternoon, no one was expecting to hear that the OKC superstar was in the lobby, eager to meet Janneh. According to ESPN’s Royce Young, Westbrook arrived "unannounced," with no cameras or media there to turn the moment into just another cookie-cutter PR opportunity.
“You could tell it wasn't a publicity stunt," Melissa Richey, the director of communications at the Children's Center Rehabilitation Hospital, told Young. "It was the kindness out of his own heart to take time out of his day, knowing he had another event that night, to take time to do that was really cool for us to see that."
Janneh was “starstruck” when Westbrook arrived, but the All-Star did what he does best in the hope of lifting the spirits of the injured child: he began to chirp at the 13-year-old.
"Russ had to do some of the talking to get him going, but once Janneh started getting comfortable, the smack talk started," Richey continued. "It was really funny between the two of them. Russ was such a great sport and gave it to him back. He didn't hold back with him. It was really fun to watch the two of them together."
Westbrook spent nearly 60 minutes with Janneh, teasing him about his love for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and giving him a pair of shoes from his personal line as a keepsake.
Janneh’s life was changed forever when he decided to go for a bike ride six months ago. It’s impossible to know how much Westbrook’s surprise visit must’ve meant to this young boy, but we hope it helped ease the pain a little bit.
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