Alleman freshman, Jordan Schmidt, is not just the most popular student at his school, he is also winning the hearts of everyone who hears his story.
Jordan has heart, and though he has a rare form of cancer, he never lets it get him down.
It was that spirit, with a little help from John Marx at the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus and News 8, that caught the eye of Ellen Degeneres. Her show sent him a surprise we got to deliver on Wednesday.
“Do you remember winning some Ellen tickets?” I asked him.
“Yes!” Jordan exclaimed.
“Well, Ellen heard your story and sent a whole care package just for you!” I told him.
“She did?” he responded.
“Check it out!” I told him.
“Oh my gosh!” Jordan said in shock.
We first met Jordan when he was serving as the honorary coach at Alleman during their varsity boys basketball game. Born with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that disrupts his nervous system, he was recently diagnosed with epithelioid angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer. What struck us right away about Jordan was his unbelievable determination.
“I think if I have a positive attitude, it'll get better,” he told us.
Even celebrities have a hard time ignoring an attitude like that.
“You have won reserved VIP seating for two to the Ellen Degeneres show!” Jordan said as he read the note the show sent to him confirming his seats. It did not take long for Jordan to decide who will go with him. She is the one who has stood by him through it all, his mom.
“I looked at her and said, 'you're my best friend. You're going with me'” remembered Jordan.
“He's my VIP too. We're best buddies,” said his mother, Michelle McMullin.
“What are you going to tell Ellen when you see her?” I asked him.
“I don't know! You're one of my favorite celebrities,” replied Jordan.
“Do you think you might be speechless? Ya. I'll just be awestruck,” he said.
Awestruck because, aside from watching the show everyday, Ellen has inspired Jordan.
“Just cuz of all she does, you know like anti-bullying all that kinda stuff. Her hearts in the right place,” he said.
And Jordan knows a thing or two about that, because he's all heart!
“It's not me that's dealing with cancer. It's cancer that's dealing with me!” said Jordan.
Jordan said he and his mother will choose a date to visit the show that works with his chemotherapy schedule. His next treatment is Friday.