The 14-year-old cancer survivor received a special message from head coach John Harbaugh
Image via ABC 2 Baltimore/Video
When a football players hear their names announced during the first round of the NFL Draft, it’s a dream come true. This week, when the Baltimore Ravens make the 16th pick, it won’t just be a great moment for the player, but for the person calling the name as well. Instead of league commissioner Roger Goodell announcing the selection, TJ Onwuanibe—a 14-year-old who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer in 2015—will get to reveal the pick for his favorite football team.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh surprised the eighth-grader at a school assembly when he told Onwuanibe via video message that he’d get to travel to Philadelphia for Thursday’s draft to man the podium for the team.
"I heard that you asked Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic to send you to the NFL Draft, and your wish is to announce the Ravens' first pick," Harbaugh said. "Well, great news. Next week, your wish will be granted in Philadelphia at the draft. How about that!"
After the video, Ravens cheerleaders and the team’s mascot, Poe, rushed the stage as his classmates at McDonogh, a private K-12 school in Owings Mills, Maryland, cheered on a shocked Onwuanibe.
This isn’t the first time TJ has caught the attention of the media though. Last week, Baltimore’s WBAL-TV broadcast a story about how Onwuanibe, whose cancer is now in remission, organized a school-wide clothing drive to benefit terminally ill children.
“This is amazing,” Onwuanibe told WBAL after the successful clothing drive. “It helps people when you do some of the smallest things.”