One of the more uplifting stories of the year came in May, when Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp took the shirt and cleats he was wearing and gave them to a cancer-stricken fan after the team was swept by the Giants in San Francisco.
What made the video go viral was how authentic Kemp was in showing his concern for the ill teen. Kemp was unaware that the best friend of 19-year-old Joshua Jones was recording the moment on video when the outfielder came over to meet the youngster. Kemp immediately autographed a baseball for the boy, and he quickly realized how much of a difference he could make by going the extra mile. So he handed over his cap, and then his jersey, and then his cleats.
Jones was unable to speak at the time, but he was ecstatic over the gifts from Kemp. He posted a photo of the gifts from Kemp to his Instagram account:
Sadly, Yahoo! Sports reports that Jones died on Tuesday night after his health had been declining for a few weeks.
Prior to his death, Jones was flown to Los Angeles by Kemp and hung out with the Dodgers before a game. The team would send him encouraging notes which uplifting him during his final few months.
Here’s a video recapping Jones’ experience at Dodger Stadium in late May: