Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell talks with Wyatt Page, a 12-year-old Utah boy with terminal brain cancer, before a game against the LA Clippers on Oct. 30, 2019.
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

A memory for Wyatt—Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell gives game-worn sneakers to a Utah boy with terminal cancer

by Aaron Falk

As Donovan Mitchell walked off the court on Wednesday night, he spotted a familiar face waiting for him by the locker room.

“My man!” the Utah Jazz guard said.

Then Mitchell did something he tends to do: He gave the boy a gift. Mitchell slipped off his sneakers and handed them to the smiling 12-year-old.

“These are for you.”

A pair of Mitchell’s game-worn sneakers would make any Jazz fan happy and the boy beamed, a giant purple shoe clutched in each hand. But for Wyatt Page and his parents, these were more than just shoes. They were a memory—and the Pages want every memory than can make with the time they have left together.

Wyatt was one of five cancer fighters recognized this week during 5 For The Fight Night at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The Eagle Mountain, Utah, boy has ependymomas, a brain cancer. His diagnosis is terminal. So night’s like Wednesday are even more important to the Page family.

“He’s got a bucket list of things he wants to do,” Wyatt’s mother, Emily Page, said.

The Pages have cheered at a BYU football game. They’ve spent weekday mornings racing cars. Next week, they’re taking a vacation to Hawaii.

And they watch every Jazz game together.

“He loves the team,” Emily said.

Through Make-A-Wish, Wyatt got to meet the team last year. He took a limo to the arena, bumped into Mitchell in the parking lot, took photos with his favorite players in the locker room and left with a personalized Jazz jersey that now hangs in the family’s TV room.

Back then, Wyatt’s cancer was in remission and the Pages were making plans for the future. Even when the cancer returned in March, his family was optimistic.

“We’ve got this again,” his mother said.

Then the cancer spread—to his lymph nodes, his scalp. Wyatt still gets radiation to slow the growth of a tumor at the base of his brain. “It will buy us some time,” his mother said, but it will not change his prognosis.

“This is our new normal,” Emily said. “When we found out it was terminal we took him out of school. We’re going to spend our time together and have a good time. Make some memories.”

One of those memories happened late last month when Wyatt was part of a news conference to announce an extension to the Jazz’s partnership with Qualtrics and 5 For the Fight. The charity has raised more than $24 million for cancer research and facilities.

“We’re just overwhelmed with the fact that they have taken us in and kept us involved in these events,” Emily said. “We feel like we’re part of the family.”

Wyatt, meanwhile, was glad to share a stage with Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Mike Conley, and Bojan Bogdanovic.

“They remembered me,” he said. “It was great.”

Wyatt signed a symbolic $5 contract with the Jazz that day (“We’re going to keep that forever,” his mother said) and was told he’d be part of a presentation at 5 For The Fight Night at the end of October.

So on Wednesday, Wyatt sat courtside before the game, filming Ingles and Conley take jump shots. When Mitchell came on the court to warm up, the Jazz guard raced over to Wyatt to say hello.

Wyatt predicted a victory over the Clippers that night.

“I think we’re gonna win,” he said.

It was a victory his family will never forget.

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