Shaun White is on a quest to fulfill more of his Olympic dreams, but on Tuesday the champion snowboarder took time out to make one come true for a 10-year-old cancer survivor from Missouri.
By LISA GUTIERREZ
The Kansas City Star
Washington Post reporter Mike Wise has the story of what happened after the two-time gold medalist qualified for the halfpipe final.
Cancer survivors Ben Hughes of St. Louis and Alabama college student Kaitlyn Lyle were there among the spectactors.
Wise reports that 10-year-old Ben was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010. He and Kaitlyn, both big Shaun White fans, went to Sochi with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
I was hospitalized all of February in 2010 and watching Shaun helped me get through that time in my life, Kaitlyn, 19, told Wise. My goal is to leave here as Mrs. Shaun White. Okay, maybe not. But it would be cool to meet him.
When Shaun saw Ben, wearing a USA beanie cap and waving a tiny American flag among the spectators, he leapt over the barrier, catching some of the best air in his career, Wise writes.
Both kids were ashen-faced and didnt know what to say at first before they all exchanged hugs and kind words for about a minute.
Ben told an Associated Press reporter that he was shocked when Shaun jumped over the barriers to greet them.
I thought, 'He's here? What? said Ben.
Kaitlyn was equally stunned.
"I had no idea he'd do this," she said.