A New York Knicks podcast host, a cadre of Knick stars and the bravery of a 12-year old girl helped make for a pretty special scene at Madison Square Garden last week, somehow eclipsing New York's huge nationally televised victory over the defending champion Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 19. Gianna Gregoire, a 12-year-old Bronx native and Knicks fan, was able to meet Jeremy Lin, Amar'e Stoudemire, Landry Fields, Tyson Chandler and television personality LaLa (wife of Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony) following the big Knick win. This was also following a pretty significant win of her own, as Gianna came out on top after a two-year-long struggle with brain cancer.
Kind of makes scoring more points than the Mavericks-thing seem a little silly, huh?
Not to Gianna, a diehard fan that relied on the Knicks as a near-nightly distraction through battling her disease while in various hospitals. That fandom was spurred on by her brother Anthony Donahue, who runs The Knick Blog Radio at TheKnicksBlog.com, and who helped spearhead a Knick-led effort to help support Gianna through her struggle.
The New York Post interviewed Gregoire and her reflections on the meeting following last week's Knick win:
"I got to say hi to Jeremy Lin! I was able to get his autograph," Gianna told The Post.
"They said congratulations, and they told me to keep fighting," the starry-eyed Gianna recalled.
Hoisting the Bronx native in the air, Fields introduced her to Stoudemire.
"He actually knew who I was!" she said of Amar'e, whom she called "fun."
Though his work pales in comparison to Gianna's drive, Donahue's driving force behind all of this is to be commended. He spearheaded a Twitter campaign in concert with the Knicks behind a #winforgianna hashtag, and worked with the team to promote silent auctions, bracelet/T-shirt sales, and PayPal donations set up to aid Gregoire in her recovery.
"My sister has been through more in 12 years," Donahue told the Post, "than most people have experienced in their whole life."
It appears so. Cheers to the Knicks for their role in making her recovery an easier one than most, and her post-cancer celebration one to remember.