BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s homecoming weekend for UAB and on Saturday the Blazers will play for the name on the back of their jerseys as they honor patients from Children’s Harbor.
UAB defensive back Dy’Jonn Turner and tight end Terrell McDonald know Saturday’s game is going to be emotional, especially because they were hand selected to represent two kids from their hometown.
Kruz and Paisley Davenport pretty much love everything dinosaurs and kitty cats.
“If you ever get to meet those two precious kids, you’ll never see a frown on their face, they’re always smiling," said Terrell McDonald.
Terrell McDonald and Dy’Jonn Turner have grown up knowing the Davenport family as they all call Florence, Alabama, home. So when they found out they would represent the seven and five-year-old for the Children’s Harbor game Saturday, they were speechless.
“It means so much to me coming from the same area, but also knowing that family and knowing what they’re going through so just playing on a national level and representing them, it means the world,” McDonald said.
“Just them being from our area, it means the most because it’s for everyone in our area and the kids sick in our area this is for them too," said UAB defensive back Dy’Jonn Turner.
In 2016, Kruz and Paisley Davenport were both diagnosed with a rare genetic and “incurable” disease called, Schimke Immuno Osseous Dysplasia (SIOD).
“It means having a low immune system, they can have seizures, hip dysplasia, kidney failure, develop cancer," said Kruz and Paizlee’s mom, Jessica.
Life expectancy is around 10 years old, but to help save their children’s lives, Jessica and her husband Kyle donated stem cells and a kidney to each child.
“My husband and I had to sign a piece of paper stating we understood that each child had an 80% mortality rate, but we had a doctor look us in the eye and say to trust them," Jessica said.
And they did. Since the kidney transplant, Kruz and Paisley’s quality of life has increased. Although they may never get the chance to play football or any other sport, on Saturday, Terrell and Dy’Jonn will give them that chance.
“Them wanting me to represent their kids knowing what they’re going through, it means the world to me,” McDonald said.
“We’ve spent more times at Children’s Hospital than we have at our own home. So knowing that they are spending that much time representing kids and families. The families will never know what it means for them to just take that day and recognize our children in that platform and play for them, it’s an honor,” Jessica said.
Kruz and Paizlee Davenport are the first siblings in the United States to be diagnosed with SIOD, making this a 1 in 80 million chance.
UTSA vs. UAB is Saturday at 11:30am at Legion Field.