Michael Beasley, 6-foot-10 freshman forward for Kansas State University men’s basketball team, had no idea who 11-year-old Blade Winter was. He had no idea that Winter was having a bad day on Saturday January 19, and he had no idea that this future K-Stater has leukemia.
What he did know was that this super-fan was trying to sit close to the court to see the drum team that was performing during half time of the K-State women's game versus Colorado. With the usher telling the little boy that he needed to find a seat, Beasley took
it upon himself to intervene.
The boy is with me, he said. The usher acknowledged Mr. Beasley and allowed Blade to sit with him. Beasley had no idea how happy he had just made this little boy.
Blade was diagnosed with leukemia when he was a mere 3 years old. A simple act of jovial toddler play resulted in the boy injuring his leg.
Thinking nothing of it at first, his parents, Connie — a graduate of Beloit (Kansas) High — and Trent Winter became concerned when they noticed the severe bruising. A trip to the doctor in Clay Center, Kansas told the Winters that this was no simple bruise. The doctors believed Blade to have leukemia. The Winters were instructed to take young Blade to Kansas City as soon as possible for further testing.
There the doctors confirmed that Blade had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. They learned that his bone marrow at that time was 94 percent leukemic. Blade was put on a hefty regiment of chemotherapy for five years. During that time his leukemia went into remission. Blade was 8 years old when he finished chemotherapy.
Connie and Trent decided to return their son back to school. Most of his schooling had to be done in the hospital in Kansas City or at home with Connie who is a teacher.
"We really tried to keep him caught up on his schooling. It is very important to us," said Connie.
Things were looking up for Blade who, although he had to be careful with what he did, was enjoying an otherwise normal childhood. But tragedy struck again and Blade found himself back in the hospital.