Seven-year-old Avery Harriman, son of NU assistant basketball coach Chris Harriman, joined Shavon Shields and other Huskers to dish about the ‘W’ over the Illini.
The video went viral and featured a reporter questioning Avery about his favorite play of the game.
“Um, my favorite play of the game was players doing great. They did super awesome on the game tonight. I was so proud of them.”
Shields thanked the youngster for his words, following up with his favorite part, “When I was shooting frees at the end of the game and could hear Avery saying, ‘C’mon, Shavon.’”
“I was cheering for you.”
Also, a miracle of sorts, considering Avery’s journey since last August, when his story, and more importantly, his battle fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia spread across news outlets and social media, after his dad posted a video.
The clip, which has over 477,000 views on YouTube, showed Avery’s response to being told he could go home, following a month of intensive chemotherapy treatments.
He screamed. He jumped for joy on the hospital bed. He kissed his mother and hugged his nurse.
Then, he returned home for a few days. Returned to normalcy, or as normal a routine as possible, before returning to the hospital for a bone marrow biopsy.
Avery’s fight against leukemia began in 2009, amidst March Madness, during the Final Four. He was only two years old at the time. He went into remission until the fall of 2012, when he relapsed. A bone marrow transplant took place.
Another 18 months of cancer-free living.
Then, another relapse. More hospitals. Additional treatments. Prayer after prayer sent soaring above.
Fast forward to September 25, 2014, when a donor from sunny California made a second stem cell donation, and to September 26, when Avery received the cell transplant, the import of life drifting through the 7-year-old body until regrowth sprouted.
Since then, the family has shared the ups and downs of Avery’s battle via social media. Avery’s Army, on Facebook, features a detailed glimpse into Avery’s medical journey, including doctor visits and treatments. It’s an intimate rendering of his continuing struggle to fight leukemia.
On January 9, after a string of biopsies, the Harriman family received the final biopsy result: No evidence of leukemia. An answer to parents’ prayers. A time to rejoice and scream and jump for joy, even on the bed.
It doesn’t surprise me that Husker Nation has adopted the coach’s son, taken up the cause and pushed for research in hopes of a cure. It doesn’t surprise me that a 7-year-old captured our collective heart and portrayed a personal battle in public, increasing awareness and empathy.
And, it doesn’t surprise me that this warrior bravely roughhoused a Goliath, of sorts, and reigned victorious.
That part is, well, super awesome.