To say times have been tough for Chris Gelinas is an understatement. The 16-year-old from Corpus Christi, Texas, has been battling a rare form of cancer for years and doctors recently told the teenager there’s no further treatment that can help defeat the epitheliod sarcoma.
Chris’ fight is nearing its end.
Despite the grim reality, family and friends continue to encourage Chris. His fellow students at Tuloso-Midway High School started doing what any teenager would do in this situation: they took to Facebook.
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Hundreds of schoolmates started a campaign in hopes of reaching Chris’ favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant. One call to the Lakers and NBC4 was able to help deliver Chris a personal message directly from Bryant himself.
"Hey Chris, what’s going on, this is Kobe," Bryant said in a video message. "Just wanted to say thank you so much for your support and for what you continue to embody and the spirit that you have to endure and to persevere and to fight. That’s an inspiration for me. Just wanted to take time to give you a shout out, say hello. Hope you had a merry, merry Christmas and a happy, happy New Year."
Chris was thrilled to hear the message from the player he’s idolized for as long as he can remember. Though the cancer has taken his eyesight, Chris couldn’t help but smile hearing Bryaant speak directly to him.
Chris’ father Gary Gelinas was extremely grateful.
"I think it’s awesome Kobe took time out of his personal life to send something to Chris," Gary Gelinas said. "He has been a fan since birth practically and to have his guy send something personal to him meant a lot to us."
Being asked meant a lot to Bryant, too.
"As a kid growing up all I wanted to do was play basketball," he said. "As you get older, you never thought in your wildest dreams that you’d be able to have that kind of impact on people."
The Lakers’ star, humbled by the request, said it helps put everything into perspective.
"It really adds more of a sense of purpose to your life when you feel like you can help others or inspire others," Bryant said. "I just feel extremely fortunate and extremely blessed to be able to do that."