CLOVER, SC (WBTV) - "The love is unreal!" That tearful reaction from Jessica Martin Wednesday afternoon when she found out her son's stolen wheelchair will be replaced with a brand new one by an anonymous donor with the Carolina Panthers.
Just hours after sharing her story with WBTV, the donor reached out to us and the process is now underway.
Noah is 9 years old. Spina Bifida robbed him of his ability to walk, but it never crushed his spirit for competitive sports.
His specially designed wheelchair allowed him play with the Charlotte Rollin Hornets basketball team.
But overnight Monday, his grandmother's SUV with his basketball chair in it was stolen in Clover, South Carolina.
Jessica told me, "We've got nationals in three weeks and now his wheelchair, something he sits in all the time, that he's used to, if we're able to go to nationals, you know, his second pair of legs, will not be there with him."
The great news is, the manufacturer of that specialty chair has assured WBTV the chair will be ready in time for nationals in April.
Beyond her son's needs, Jessica is grateful so many people have learned about "this amazing non-profit, The Charlotte Rollin Hornets!"
"Donations are key to this non-profit basketball team because that's what our team lives on, you have to have food, we have to have donations. We do not have any corporate sponsors. It's all up to the community to help out with donations to get the chairs and get to tournaments," Jessica says since news broke of Noah's stolen chair and people inquiring how they can help the organization.
Jessica remembers how it felt the first time she and Noah signed up for The Charlotte Rollin Hornets. She's seen the same expression on countless other faces. Kids who just want a chance to be kids and play ball.
"Every donation is giving a child, a boy or girl, an opportunity to play a sport. You're giving a chance [for a kid] to have a chair! So in the future when kids come through the door they say, 'I want to play', well then we can have a chair for them," Jessica said.
"It's a chance for them to feel like they're at home. Like my son did our first time. It felt like home….oh I'm gonna cry now…..," she added.
To make a donation to the Charlotte Rollin Hornets click here.