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Gay turns into a dream weaver

Grizz star forward Rudy Gay recently experienced an evening of “Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader” – just not on the television show.

Grizz star forward Rudy Gay recently experienced an evening of “Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader” – just not on the television show. It was to one of his biggest and most important fans that he answered every question that was thrown out at him.

A “dream” dinner tailored for 10-year-old Cortavious Shephard put him across the table from Rudy Gay. (Photo by Kelley Evans)

“How old are you?”

“I’m about to be 26,” Gay replied.

“Oh. I thought you were 18….You look 18.”

Gay laughed. “I like this kid,” he said.

Fifth-grader Cortavious Shephard waited patiently for his favorite NBA player to sit down and have dinner with him. This was no ordinary day for Cortavious. It was a “dream dinner”  tailored exclusively for him.

On Sunday (April 22), Gay shared laughs with the 10-year-old St. Jude patient Cortavious and his parents, Nakeisha and Brad, over dinner at Bleu Restaurant and Lounge across the street from the FedExForum.

Diagnosed in November with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer that starts in the bone marrow, Cortavious’ cancer is now in remission. The family traveled from Brownsville, Tenn., and attributes his speedy recovery to prayer.

Hosted by C Spire Wireless, the dinner was no chance meal. In an attempt to pass on a remarkable gift to a deserving child, the company contacted St. Jude.

“Rudy is a wonderful ambassador for St. Jude who has done a remarkable job of sharing our St. Jude mission with basketball fans across the country,” said Rick Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®. “Our official partnership with NBA Cares and the support of the Grizzlies and C Spire through events like Hoops for St. Jude Week helps St. Jude continue conducting pioneering research and care for children with deadly diseases, all while ensuring that no family will ever pay St. Jude for anything.”

For Gay, the experience was rewarding.

“First, I’m humbled that he is a fan of mine. I want to make his day. He’s gone through so much. I hope it means as much to him as it does to me.”

C Spire Wireless, the official wireless partner for the Memphis Grizzlies and FedExForum, is a presenting sponsor for the team’s successful involvement in the NBA’s Hoops for St. Jude Week.

“For a quarter century, C Spire has been committed to supporting education, strengthening communities and improving lives through its philanthropic initiatives, partnerships and employee volunteerism,” said Hu Meena, president and CEO of C Spire Wireless.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Rudy Gay, the Grizzlies and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to make this ‘dream’ dinner happen for this precious 10-year-old St. Jude patient and his family.”


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