NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Kwa Jones was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of four and not expected to live. The Make-a-Wish Foundation granted him what they believed would be his final request, but the world soon learned he had a lot of life still left to live. Now, he reflects on the time he said only made him stronger.
"First reaction - I was devastated I was young, Jones said. "Didn't really know how to feel, especially when I started losing my hair."
Jones was only a small child when diagnosed with the leukemia, but the memories from this dark time still haunt him.
"I felt my body getting sick, and at one point in time, they told me they couldn't do anything else," Jones said.
Jones is a huge basketball enthusiast, so when the Make-a-Wish Foundation heard about his story they flew him out to Los Angeles for a legendary evening spent with his favorite basketball players.
"They let me go back and hang out with Shaq and Kobe from when they were together," said Jones. "For the whole evening, I just got to spend it with them. I still remember it like it was yesterday; it's something I'll never forget."
Jones remembers starting to feel stronger when everyone expected his body to become its weakest. Looking back, he still wonders why he was chosen to live, but he uses this as his greatest motivation.
"The older I got, I just knew I couldn't take anything for granted because at any point it could be the end," Jones said.
PJ Sanders, one of his best friends, said his character and passion for people makes the world a better place.
"He's one of the most humble people you'll ever meet, and I don't think there is anyone like Kwa on this planet," Sanders said.
Jones said he owes his strength of character and faith in God to his mother who never left his side and always believed in him.
"I owe it all to my mom. She is so strong and has done everything and sacrificed so much," Jones said.
In an unlikely twist of fate, Jones was given a reminder of how far he has come when he met his basketball coach at Jacksonville College, where he attended last year on a scholarship. The coach's own mother worked for the doctor that operated on him when he was his sickest.
"He told me what kind of cancer it was and said he was at Cooks Children Hospital, and I said, 'Oh my mom works at Cooks in the Oncology Department', we couldn't believe it," said Head Coach Aaron Smith.
He leaves the world with a message those that know him say he lives out every single day.
"Don't take anything for granted. Don't treat people bad. Just keep faith in God; he can really work miracles. I'm a miracle child. That's what my mom always tells me," Jones said.
Jones will move on to the University of Houston in the fall where he will continue living out his passion for basketball and inspiring others with his special story.