Commonwealth Journal

Local News

May 18, 2013

Former UK basketball star, local cancer patient form special bond


Somerset —

 “There’s a lot of decisions that you have to make,” said Lisa. “You do a lot of praying and you lay it in God’s hands and you just wait.”
But Kelly’s struggle has also resulted in new relationships with a few young men he never would have come in contact with had he not been diagnosed. Kelly has bonded with University of Kentucky football players, and even well-known UK Basketball center Nerlens Noel, since November.
“We’ve made quite a few friends since we’ve been up there,” said Lisa.
Lisa laughed as she remembered their first meeting with the then-UK freshman. The Meltons are UK fans through and through. But she admits she didn’t realize who Noel was when he first appeared in the doorway of their son’s hospital room late one night in November.
But she does remember shooing he and his friends back out into the hall after seeing they hadn’t donned masks or gloves, as Kelly was in quarantine.
“Someone knocked on the door and I just said ‘come in,’ assuming it was a nurse,” said Lisa. “And then this really tall guy came in and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, you don’t have a mask! Get out of here!’”
Lisa said Noel and his two friends retreated into the hallway and returned dressed appropriately. That first meeting sparked an unlikely friendship between Noel and Kelly. The 19-year-old has visited the now-seven-year-old a number of times, and Kelly gained somewhat of a celebrity status earlier this month when he was photographed attending the Kentucky Derby with Noel.
Lisa said Noel reached out to them first about the derby trip, and Harrison’s first response was: “Are you crazy? There’s no way I’d turn him loose with all those people.”

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