Credit: Gene Gamble

Not Your Typical Superheroes


Florida Gators center Patric Young (4) talks with forward Will Yeguete (15). Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Fighting cancer is no easy battle. And it’s not any easier at the age of three, but Kaedyn Love Ballew has been doing it since he was ten months old.  After being treated for mumps, Kaedyn was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblast Leukemia (cancer of the white blood cells) at University of Florida’s Shands Hospital.

Florida Gators Men’s Basketball stars Patric Young and Will Yeguete: you might see them dominating the SEC at the O-Dome, but what you don’t see might be even more awe inspiring. On a routine hospital visit, the always smiling Gators duo met young Kaedyn and instantly became attached.

“We ran into Kaedyn’s family…time just kept going by and we ended up staying there for an hour, hour and a half. Since then Will and I have had a big connection with him, and we’re eager to see him again,” Young said.

An hour and half talk soon turned into monthly visits. Over the weeks, these visits molded a connection between a three year old fighting cancer, and two basketball players battling injuries. On odd bond from the outside looking in, but in this case age is just a number.

“I definitely use that as a source to make me push and think positive. He gives me more strength when I think about what he and his family are going through,” Yeguete said when asked about him and Kaedyn both overcoming adversity.

“His [diagnosis] is life threatening. It puts what we are dealing with in perspective, things aren’t that bad. With Kaedyn’s situation, his life was on the line and he had to go through some real therapy,” Young said.

What stood out most to Will and Patric during the visits, that included watching cartoons and just talking, was Kaedyn’s creativity, especially when telling stories.

“He was special from the get go. He has quite the imagination. He was just going on and on for an hour and a half,” Yeguete said “Seeing him battling and always fighting. Being so positive and having us crying laughing, it was just amazing.”

The two seniors were equally impressed with young Kaedyn’s maturity and understanding.

“He is really smart. The things that he says are really funny,” Young said.

The imagination and maturity of young Kaedyn was also noticed by producer Gene Gamble.

“I met Kaedyn and was just so touched from a three year old kid. What he has battled. Having cancer at 10 months. Now he is three and just got the bone marrow transplant. His spirit is just unbelievable,” Gamble said.

He decided this story could not go untold.

“Just sitting back and watching him [Kaedyn] interact with Will and Pat, and doctors and nurses who came in. I felt like this story needed to be told,” Gamble said.

The name, well that was the easy part.

“Patric and Will are like superheroes to Kaedyn. He looks up to them, and they look up to him,” Gamble said.

Kaedyn The Super Hero” was born. Started by Gamble, “Kaedyn The Super Hero” is a Kick Starter project aimed at raising money for a documentary about Kaedyn.

The documentary will include an animation of Kaedyn’s story up until this point, and live filming will begin with Kaedyn and Will’s treatments. It will also feature Keadyn’s first trip to a Gators basketball game.

The goal of the documentary isn’t only to share Kaedyn’s story.

“I just want people to be touched by this story and know that there is still good out there. You just have to continue to believe in the fight, stay strong and never give up,” Gamble said.

Next up on the list for the trio of superheroes: Target.

“His favorite place to go is Target. I want to go with him to Target one day and see why he loves it so much,” Young said.

Donate to the project here.

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Tags: Basketball Featured Florida Gators Patric Young Popular Will Yeguete