'My Wish' Q&A: Stephanie Portee-King
My Wish: LaDainian Tomlinson
LaJerrick Keyes used to like the San Diego Chargers. Now he follows the New York Jets. The reason for the switch? LaDainian Tomlinson. The Make-A-Wish Foundation arranged for LaJerrick to meet Tomlinson -- and the rest of his new Jets teammates -- earlier this summer.
LaJerrick's mother, Stephanie Portee-King, discussed the highlights of her son's "My Wish" experience with ESPN.com.
Meet LaJerrick Keyes
• Age: 9
• Hometown: Indiantown, Fla.
• Medical condition: Congenital heart disease
• Wish: To meet LaDainian Tomlinson
• Wish date: June 15
What was your first thought when you found out LaJerrick would be getting his wish?
I was like, "Oh my goodness."
How did they tell LaJerrick about it?
[The Make-A-Wish representative] asked to speak to him on the phone. I can't really say what she told [LaJerrick] because they had a private conversation. He walked away with the phone, and when he came out of my room, he was smiling and stuff. But he never told me what was said. It was something between those two, but he was smiling all day.
Could you walk me through LaJerrick's day with LaDainian in New Jersey?
We saw the [New York Jets] practice. LaJerrick was able to get in the huddle. LaJerrick and LaDainian played catch. They went back [in the locker room] and played the Xbox together.
What did he say about getting to meet the football players and getting to meet the coaches?
He was just happy. Usually, LaJerrick gets fatigued a lot, and he doesn't want to do a lot of stuff. But LaJerrick was ready to go all day. He was just so excited.
Why did LaJerrick pick to meet LaDainian as his wish?
He and his brother play ["Madden" on the PlayStation 2] all the time. You can pick [any other team] except LaDainian's team. He actually cries if somebody else picks him. He's just always been a LaDainian Tomlinson fan.
Does LaJerrick keep up with professional football, and what LaDainian is up to?
Oh, yes. He keeps up with him. We were going to go to California [for LaJerrick's wish], but it just so happens [the Chargers] cut LaDainian. And Make-A-Wish called and asked him if he still wanted to go meet the other San Diego Chargers. He said, "No. I want to go meet LT." I was like, "Oh my."
What has LaJerrick been like since you guys went up to New Jersey?
He has been happy since then. It made him feel very special. Usually, he's always like, "I wish I could have one day like a normal child." When LaDainian granted his wish, it was his one day of living like a normal child. He's very happy. And that's all he talks about, really. By LaDainian granting his wish and him being the person that he is, he made my son feel like he was a normal child for that one day. And I really appreciate that.
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