Nicholas was a typical teenage boy and a star goalie for the Mississippi Fire soccer team. Because of his love for the sport, he would travel three hours one way twice a week for soccer practice. One Friday afternoon, while preparing to travel out of state the following morning for a soccer tournament; Nicholas noticed that one of his contacts were cloudy.
What started out as a typical Friday for Jennifer Myers quickly turned into something she could have never expected.
It’s the usual Friday afternoon for a soccer mom: Once 5:00 p.m. hits, Jennifer knows that she’ll have to run out the door, make her way to the
grocery store, and head back home to pack the family up for the out-of-town weekend soccer tournament. Before she leaves work, though, her
son Nicholas calls to let her know that one of his contact lenses is irritating him. Not a problem, she thinks. Jennifer calls in a favor to their optometrist, and, shortly
thereafter, he’s in the office for an impromptu exam. While attempting to figure out the source of Nicholas’ irritation, the doctor spots a retinal hemorrhage behind
one of his eyes. The two then head to the pediatrician, where a blood test is performed. The results aren’t good—Nick has leukemia.
Within an eight-hour time span, the Myers family’s lives were radically changed. Nick’s role as starting goalkeeper on his select soccer team that weekend was quickly
squashed, as would be his future successful soccer career. For the next three years, Nick wouldn’t be fighting opponents on the field, but instead would be fighting
a much deadlier foe. Luckily, he wouldn’t have to do it alone, nor would he have to carry the heavy burden by himself. His soccer team, community, and school
rallied together to help him through it, and there was still an unexpected opportunity to bring a little more joy to Nick’s life.
Ryan, a student at Gulfport High School, told Nick and his family about Make-A-Wish Mississippi and the organization’s mission. When Nick met with the wish granter
from Make-A-Wish Mississippi, he knew that he wanted his wish to revolve around his favorite musician, John Mayer. After a while of thought and debate, he eventually
narrowed his wish down to a custom acoustic guitar identical to the one played by Mayer. Nick, together with the Make-A-Wish staff, was able to design the Martin guitar of
his dreams, but the wish didn’t end there.
Being a “true coastie,” Nick had planned to bring his friends from Ole Miss down to the Gulf Coast to celebrate Mardi Gras the right way, but what Nick didn’t know
was that his mother and Shellie had plotted to surprise him with his wish while he was home. After a full day of celebration, he and his friends went to the Reef,
where the band playing had been waiting to call him on stage. When his name was called, Nick was taken aback, but proceeded with nervous surprise. On stage, he was
presented with his custom-made Martin guitar, but it wasn’t quite the same Martin guitar he’d envisioned—this one had been signed by John Mayer himself.
“He was completely surprised. All of his friends still talk about it to this day!,” Jennifer said. “For everything these kids go through, knowing that one day he could
relapse, it was such an awesome gift–one he would have never received–that gave him the hope and strength that all things are possible.” Like David used his slingshot, Nick,
surrounded by his loved ones, used his guitar as a way to defeat his battle with leukemia.
Nick celebrated one year off chemotherapy this past summer and is a student at the University of Mississippi, cheering on his Ole Miss Rebels and playing his guitar
whenever he can. Stories like these make us agree with John Mayer...
“Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won’t all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good.”
“ The Heart of Life” (2006)