The last time Andrew Jones played for the Texas Longhorns was on January 1st, he scored 8 points in just 11 minutes in their 74-70 win over Iowa St. Since then, has been getting treatment for Leukemia, which he was diagnosed with in January, shortly after this game. Leukemia is a disease in which bone marrow and other blood-forming organisms produce too many white blood cells. This condition can lead to chronic fatigue, increased susceptibility to infection, weight loss, easy bleeding or bruising, etc…
After hearing the news of Jones, someone who was just getting over what Jones was about to go through thought he might be of some assistance to Jones. That someone was Nick Paquette, a current student and member of the Men’s Basketball team at SUNY New Paltz. Paquette thought it was a good idea to send a letter to Andrew Jones, inside this letter was some tips, motivation, and what Jones’ battle with Leukemia might entail, given what Paquette had been experiencing for the year prior.
Paquette talks about, in the letter, how he felt when he was first diagnosed with the condition. How he was terrified, and how he had thoughts and doubts about if he would even survive this whole thing. Paquette proceeded to explain the immediate steps he took after diagnosis, and how it was the hardest time of his life. He reassured Jones that it is perfectly normal for thoughts like that to run through his mind during a tough time like that. Paquette said that the optimism from those around him was what gave him the most hope.
Paquette claims that the most important thing throughout the whole process, was to just do a little bit more and more every day, that is what will ultimately get you to your goal. One day came when he had enough strength to go shoot 10 free throws in the driveway, and he made it his mission to shoot 20 the next day, for Paquette improvement was all that he cared about. Parting words from Paquette for Jones were “If I could give you any advice, it would be to stay strong, keep a positive mindset every day and truly believe that you’re going to get through this. It’s really all about progressing every day and taking baby steps toward your goal. Obviously there will be tough days, but push through them, and don’t let leukemia stop you from doing something that you love.”
One of Paquette’s biggest fears during his recovery process, was that there was no set road to play basketball after something like this. This was not like a normal injury where there is a step by step plan to get back to playing. By sending this letter to Jones, Jones can see a perfect example of someone who already went through what he is going through now. Jones can also see the current success that Paquette is enjoying now too, even after all that he went through. Jones will surely have less doubt than Paquette did when he first entered this stage of the condition.
Although these two college basketball players play at two very different levels, and go to school in totally separate parts of the country, they are connected through their struggle against Leukemia. Neither one of these hoop stars are going to let their condition keep them from the game they love.
Another article on this story can be found at Nick Paquette/Andrew Jones Story
— Nick Paquette (@Nick_Paquette) February 27, 2018