That’s the hashtag for a social media movement trying to get Courtney Wagner, a Canandaigua, N.Y., senior battling cancer, invited to the “Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and Saturday that effort shifted to the Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. The 17-year-old soccer and basketball player signed a one-game contract on Friday with the Rochester RazorSharks professional basketball team and suited up and played Saturday against the Philadelphia Flight.
Wagner was in the starting lineup and the RazorSharks passed her the ball off the opening tip. Two players lifted her to the rim for a dunk.
Team officials also say they want to be a part of helping raise awareness of Courtney’s quest to meet her favorite comedian.
“I became a big fan of (DeGeneres) when I was first diagnosed (31/2 years ago), Wagner said. “I read one of her books, I think the latest one, it’s called Seriously … I’m Kidding,and it has a lot of chapters in it that are just funny.”
Wagner’s battle against brain cancer, which has spread to her spine, became more public on Feb. 17. After not being well enough to play all season, she suited up on Senior Night at Canandaigua and its opponent, Brighton, allowed her to make the first basket of the game.
“It’s really amazing how many people are coming together and trying to make my dream come true,” said Wagner, who has never been to California, where DeGeneres’ show on NBC tapes.
The way she has faced her struggle with a smile and by remaining upbeat has caught people’s attention.
“She is such an inspiration,” said head coach Robert Spon.
“To see her and see how happy she is,” point guard Jerice Crouch said, “it makes those bad days you have as a person, makes you fight through it because (you know) somebody has it much worse than you do.”