Having Witnessed His Sister’s Devastating Battle, Shaquille O’Neal Offers Comfort to One Cancer Patient in Dallas

Published 09/25/2023, 8:50 AM EDT

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Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal is known to be a compassionate person. From helping out the not-so-fortunate youth through his foundation to not shying away from interacting with his fans, people are aware of how kind the 51-year-old can be. Having lost his sister to cancer, the kindness that Shaq displays towards a particular entity or institution stems from his own personal experiences. A similar situation was seen during the Big Diesel’s recent visit to a banquet.

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Besides making a visit to the Boys & Girls Club in Texas, an institution that which Shaq shares a personal history, the former Lakers star also paid a visit to the Walnut Ridge Baptist Church. Accompanying him was his mother, Lucille, who spoke at a Youth Development Banquet held at the church.

Shaquille O’Neal offers some kind words to a cancer patient

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While Shaq made an exit right after the banquet, he still took some time to take a few pictures with his fans and other NBA enthusiasts. During the same, a cancer patient by the name of Faith Watts approached the basketball legend. She mentioned her ailment during the conversation and highlighted how she had just completed her final round of chemotherapy.

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This made Shaq pay some extra attention to Watts and leave behind a few kind words for her to remember. “He shook my hand and said to stay strong,” Watts said. “It was so cool.” This isn’t the first time that Shaq has imparted his words of wisdom to a cancer-riddled individual.

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Back in November last year, during a Q and A session, Shaq was approached by an entrepreneur named Brian. He explained how he was diagnosed with brain cancer and wanted to get some advice from the Big Aristotle. Keeping his answers short and to the point, Shaq simply said, “Get Help”. O’Neal has a personal history with cancer, given that he lost one of his most loved individuals through the disease.

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The Big Aristotle went into a dark place after his sister’s death from cancer

Back in October 2019, it was announced that Shaq’s younger sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, had passed away due to cancer. She was just 40 years old. The devastating news was brought up between Shaq’s co-hosts during an episode of TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA’. 67-year-old Ernie Johnson paid tribute to the Lakers’ legend and his sister by sharing a few kind words.

If the pain of losing his sister wasn’t enough, Shaq would face another tragedy after his former teammate, Kobe Bryant, passed away in a helicopter crash. Losing both the individuals he cared so much about sent the Big Diesel into a dark place. Besides developing an eating disorder, Shaq would also suffer from insomnia.

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WATCH THIS STORY | “He Passed That Sunday”: Shaquille O’Neal’s 66YO Buddy Reminisces the “Surreal” Moment When the World Lost NBA Legend, Kobe Bryant

“I don’t go to bed till 5 AM… Ever since Kobe [Bryant] and my sister died I can’t sleep,” said Shaq during an interview. Shaq saw the pain that Faith Watts had gone through. While his sister may not have survived, the NBA icon hopes that this young individual does.

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Written by:

Ashmit Kumar

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Ashmit is an NBA author at EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, he carries a deep passion for writing and researching about basketball events around the world. Ashmit specializes in bringing captivating stories that provide in-depth coverage of teams, players, and significant events associated with the world of professional basketball.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth

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