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Link: UK players — past and present — help motivate ill teenager

Meant to link this great story a few days ago.

The Courier-Journal in Louisville has a fantastic story on Reese Kemp and his relationship with the Kentucky basketball players — past and present — as he fights cystic fibrosis. Wildcats like John Wall, Terrence Jones and Nerlens Noel have all reached out to the ill teenager and have not only motivated him to keep fighting but to help others.

We, including this website, often focus on just the basketball side of things with John Calipari’s team and his players, but this story highlights another example of the spirit of the players Coach Cal brings in and responsibility they carry and embrace.

There is an excerpt below, but check out the full story here.

Reese Kemp used to tell his mother that he wanted to die. He’d had enough of hospitals and surgeries and feeding tubes. He missed his father, who suffered a fatal heart attack when Reese was 5, and he just wanted to find him in heaven.

Reese’s mother, Shantelle Kemp, felt helpless, because what do you tell a boy with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening respiratory disease for which there is no cure?

She tried therapists. She tried hugs. She had no idea she needed University of Kentucky basketball players.

Now, after forging some unlikely friendships — watching movies with Terrence Jones and riding go-karts with Nerlens Noel and flying to Washington to visit John Wall — over the past three years, Reese’s outlook has completely changed.

“They took me from not even wanting to live to just loving life,” said Reese, 15, of Nicholasville.