Teen fighting cancer to meet idol LeBron James after all

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Ebony Nettles-Bey was a trending topic on Twitter this week.

The 16-year-old is a junior forward for the Verona Area High School girl’s basketball team in Verona, Wisconsin. Last October, Nettles-Bey was diagnosed with stage four Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

The disease and subsequent chemotherapy treatments led Nettles-Bey to lose her hair and shed ten pounds.

The teen said doctors told her she wouldn’t have the strength to continue playing basketball, but she didn’t listen. She’s the team’s starting forward.

Her inspiring story led teammates and friends to start a hashtag, #LeBronMeetEbony, in hopes the campaign could earn her a meeting with the NBA superstar. It briefly became a trending topic on Twitter, according to Madison.com’s Rob Hernandez. James is Ebony’s favorite player.

Nettles-Bey told Madison television station WKOW-TV basketball gives her all the inspiration she needs:

“It kind of relates to cancer. If you give up in a game, like if you’re getting blown out or something, then you’ll lose but if you keep fighting back and stuff, then you still have a chance to win. I’m going to beat it. I think that if I give up, I will die, but if I keep like being strong and stuff then, I won’t.”

The Miami Heat have reportedly been in contact with Nettles-Bey, who has a game later tonight.

*UPDATE* (5 p.m. ET)

Ebony will meet LeBron James next month, according to Verona Area High’s Athletic Director Mark Kryka. The Heat will be ‘in town’ to face the Milwaukee Bucks on March 29. The Bucks play their home games at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, which is about 90 miles east of Verona.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Kryka said of how the school has rallied around Ebony’s story. “It’s definitely brought the team closer together.”

Kryka said in a brief phone interview Thursday afternoon that Nettles-Bey just moved to the district this school year, and the community immediately rallied around her.

“I think all of the girls on our team are benefitting,” Kryka said. “The game of basketball isn’t as important to the girls now. They see the bigger picture.”

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