BY TINA COX
The crowd rose to their feet. It was tip-off time for the CATS debut in the Bahamas. Coaches and players stood in front of their respective benches. The only thing missing was the American flag.
Coach Payne noticed a fan wearing an American flag suit and turned to face him. The crowd and team joined. All eyes were on “this guy” as a thousand plus fans sang the Star Spangled Banner a cappella. In retrospect, the music not working seemed fitting.
I would soon learn the name of the guy in the suit was Chris Hendrick. His story is one to be shared.
Chris is a lifelong Kentucky fan. He has football season tickets and once took Jessica, his partner to a game at Rupp in the upper level of the upper arena when she was nine months pregnant. His schedule centers around CAT games. He can be defined as a faithful member of the BBN.
Chris is a fighter. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in September 2016. He has undergone unsuccessful treatments at Norton’s Children’s Hospital and the University of Louisville. He is currently in Los Angeles where he began an experimental trial following his trip to the Bahamas.
Earlier this year it was discovered that the cancer had spread to his lungs. After long discussions about their future, Chris shared his dream with Jessica of traveling to the Bahamas to watch the CATS play.
With the assistance from Shirley’s Way, Dewayne Peevey and the Atlantis Resort his dream became reality. For a week Chris was able to escape decisions and conversations about his condition.
The trip was the first time the couple had been away from their four children, ages 3-8. They were just fans watching their CATS play. They spent their days poolside, Chris in his floppy hat and Jessica with a huge smile on her face. They spent their night at Imperial Arena watching the CATS. No one knew his name. He was simply known as the guy in the America flag suit. Their life was normal for that week.
Chris will never be the “Y” at a game at Rupp. He might never be able to attend another game but he will always hold special the memory of having an arena full of the BBN face him with hands on their hearts.
If you’d like to send thoughts and prayers to Chris, follow him @hendrick_1369.
Be kind. Always listen. Remember, everyone has a story and some will bless you for life.
follow me @tcox5470