Boston’s Jayson Tatum gifts Game 7 ball to young cancer survivor
If you happened to notice a very short person holding the game ball in photos of the Boston Celtics locker room after the Celtics’ Game 7 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, your eyes were not playing tricks on you. It was Xavier Goncalves of Raynham, Massachusetts, a 10-year-old cancer survivor befriended by star forward Jayson Tatum according to recent reporting from WCVB’s Mary Saladna.
“It was really cool and it was really surprising that he was willing to trust me with the ball, and just trust me in general to handle this with care,” said Goncalves after Boston’s series-clinching victory.
“He’s just genuinely kind and a nice person,” offered Xavier’s mother, Samantha Bowditch, of Tatum. “You can see when they’re talking and hanging out, he really cares about him.”
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Tatum connected with Xavier while he has been working with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Mass Eye and Ear to beat his diagnosis, and Goncalves says he has learned from the example of Tatum about teamwork and sticking with a goal.
“There’s a lot that I’ve learned from him,” Xavier related. “He’s trying to help me focus on not only getting through it but staying up with it.”
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