Heart of the Game: Kaedyn Ballew's story

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Looking at 4-year-old Kaedyn Ballew now you'd never know it's a miracle he's alive. At 9 months old, doctors diagnosed Kaedyn with leukemia.

"When they told me he had cancer I just didn't believe it. I was just in shock. I kept telling them that they were wrong," said Shelsie Ballew.

Unfortunately, the doctor's diagnosis was right.

"I was scared that I was going to lose him. He was dying when we took him in. His organs were failing," said Shelsie. "He really wasn't given a shot to live that first night."

But, Kaedyn is a fighter. His mother says he underwent two years of chemotherapy.

"He would throw up and just hurt all the time. He was miserable. All he wanted me to do was hold him all the time, that's it. It was very hard for me to see my little boy go through that and it was nothing I could do to make him feel better," said Kaedyn.

Kaedyn's battle with cancer was just beginning. After going into remission, the cancer came back.

Kaedyn spent months in the hospital. It was during this time that Kaedyn would meet two guys, who would become his best friends, Florida Gators Center Patric Young and Forward Will Yeguete.

"Patric and Will just sat down on his bed and Kaedyn just sat in the middle of them. Kaedyn tells them how he can beat the up and how his muscles are bigger than theirs and they just clicked," she said.

Shelsie says she thought it was going to be a one-time visit. But the two have stayed in touched, Will calls Kaedyn at least three times a week and visits during his free time.

"Kaedyn just tells him about his day and Will just listens to him and they have an older brother - little brother relationship," she said. "They're role models for everyone in the athletic world and I think they would be great fathers one day."

"Right, he's a normal child," said Shelsie Ballew. "He gets to start school in August for the first time ever. He's basically healthy."


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