Newman basketball signs child battling rare disease

Posted: Updated:
Julian Randle signs with Newman basketball team Julian Randle signs with Newman basketball team
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

An 11-year-old Wichita boy who is fighting a chronic illness was given a special honor, thanks to members of the Newman University men's basketball team.

Thursday, the University held a special signing ceremony for its newest player, Julian Randle.

"This particular young man that we came across is the perfect fit for Newman University," head coach R.J. Allen said to the crowd.

Julian might be the youngest player in the history of the Jets basketball program, but he's a good get for many reasons.

Julian's been battling Juvenile Dermatomyositis for five years. It's a rare autoimmune disease. The disease thinks his muscles and organs are a virus and attacks them. He goes through chemotherapy treatments and injections monthly, which is a tough fight for a child who adores this sport.

"I'm looking forward to see if we can win the championship this year," Julian said.

Basketball runs deep in Julian's family. His mom and uncle are current high school basketball coaches in Wichita.

LaToya Randle says seeing her son step away from the sport because of the disease has been hard.

"Now he actually has his own team. For me it was tears of joy, because he has his own team finally," his mother said.

Julian will wear number 14. While he's excited to be a part of his new team, the other players consider it an honor to play alongside him.

"There's a message every now and again that somebody's always going through something, but you know you can always help with a smile or ask how somebody's doing or inviting them into your life," sophomore player Anthony Harvey Jr. said.

Team IMPACT is the group that helped make the signing happen. Julian will participate in all of the practices and games.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have pictures to share with us? Email them to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE