He’s accomplished pretty much everything in the world of basketball, but superstar forward LeBron James still appears to have a soft side to his hard, driven exterior. And nothing exemplified this more than an incident that occurred just before his Cleveland Cavaliers were ready to take on the Atlanta Hawks on November 5, 2017. As he was warming up, James gazed up at the screens in the arena only to see a young boy in the crowd holding up a sign. And what it said left the point-scoring phenomenon awestruck…
His incredible skills on the court have won him stacks of awards, and he’s taken the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers all the way to the NBA championships. Through talent and dedication, basketball powerhouse LeBron James has become one of the most highly regarded shooters in the game.
Born in 1984, the Ohio native was always destined for success in his chosen field. Even as a freshman at high school James was garnering much adulation for his incredible point-scoring prowess. Indeed, he became the first sophomore to receive a place in USA Today’s All-USA First Team.
However, that was only the beginning of his dominance in the sport. After receiving plaudits for being the Parade magazine High School Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year and Gatorade Player of the Year, James quickly ascended to the top flight of basketball when he was acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003.
It didn’t take James long to prove his worth in the upper echelons of basketball. Not only did the star become the first ever Cavaliers player to pick up the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in the 2003-2004 season, but he also set a new record for the youngest player to ever scoop the prize. He was just 20 years old when he won it.
Since those record-breaking feats, the skilled forward has only gone from strength to strength in the NBA. Despite moving to the Miami Heat in 2010 – and alienating some of his Cavaliers fans in the process – James was still intent on winning a championship. And in 2012 he did just that.
James won a second championship with the Miami Heat, before returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers – ultimately leading them to their first ever championship in 2016. The slam-dunk machine was also chosen as the MVP of the NBA Finals, cementing his love for the team in the process.
James was clearly overjoyed with his achievement. “I came back to bring a championship to our city,” he said. “I knew what I learned in the last couple years that I was gone, and I knew if I had to – when I came back – I knew I had the right ingredients and the right blueprint to help this franchise get back to a place that we’ve never been.”
In November 2017, however, James was taken aback by a rather different, non-sporting related incident. As he was prepping himself during the warmup before the game against the Atlanta Hawks, he caught a glimpse of the Jumbotron. It showed a boy in the stands holding a sign.
The sign read, “My last chemo is Thursday. I’m here to celebrate. #CamStrong.” It just so happened that the young boy there to watch his favorite team was battling leukemia. That week, he was scheduled to undergo his last chemotherapy treatment.
The touching moment was caught by the cameras, eliciting a standing ovation from fans attending the game. Once the players caught wind of it, they proceeded to applaud as well – including LeBron James. The star looked moved as he showed his support for the brave Cavaliers fan.
The emotionally-charged occasion put everything into perspective. The boy had made an hour-long journey to see his favorite NBA stars take to the court, despite the very serious issues which he was having to contend with. And it turned out the defiant kid’s appearance at the game marked the end of a long and grueling battle.
However, this trip to Cleveland wasn’t one of worry and concern; this time it was all about celebration and fun. That’s because Cameron Jaros was more used to schlepping to Cleveland for treatments and checkups. Sadly, Jaros was diagnosed with Acute B ALL Leukemia when he was just 12 years old.
The seventh-grader from Austintown, Ohio, was taken to the doctor in May 2017 after he began suffering from headaches. After finding a lump on his head, tests were conducted on the young boy. Sadly, his mother was contacted soon after to inform her that her son had cancer.
The news proved to be devastating for the whole family, with those most concerned setting up a GoFundMe page in order for people to help towards his recovery. But even in the face of such adversity, Jaros proved himself a fighter and a caring kid to boot.
Part of his GoFundMe story reads, “Cameron, being the sweetheart that he is, was more worried about everyone else than what was going on with him. He is ready for the fight that’s ahead of him with the love and support of all of his friends and family, both far and near.”
Displaying such bravery, it was only right that Jaros received an ovation at the basketball game. He spoke to local TV station WKBN about that November night. “It made me… I was shocked at first. Then I kind of cried a little bit,” he said. “Not a lot of people can say LeBron James clapped for me or something like that.”
His GoFundMe page went on, “Cameron is only 12 and just finished 6th grade at Austintown Middle School. He is a lover of all things Minion and Harry Potter! He is a big teddy bear of smiles and hugs! We know he is hoping to be able to come home soon to enjoy the summer months off, but he’s in for a long road of chemo, treatments and visits to Cleveland.”
Thankfully, Jaros is doing much better now. Since his appearance at the Cavaliers-Hawks game went viral, he is now officially cancer-free. His final chemotherapy treatment was a success, and the leukemia is now in remission. It’s proved a happy ending to his six-month nightmare.
Furthermore, in a rare turn of good fortune over the last six months, Jaros was informed that he had Berkitts Leukemia and not Acute B ALL Leukemia. He had a rarer form of the disease, but one with a higher survival rate. It also meant that he’d need to undergo six months of chemotherapy, rather than three and a half years.
Now, Jaros is more determined than ever to finally say good riddance to the cancer. Asked about his CamStrong hashtag, he told WKBN, “Believe in yourself and don’t give up. Even if you have no hope, just keep fighting. Even if you lose, just keep on fighting.” If they’re not inspiring words to live by, then we don’t know what are.