Lebron James — known affectionately as King James — is a star basketball player and inspiration to many, including an Edmonton teen named Jayden, or Jay to those who knew him.

Jay had a bright and vibrant personality. He loved all types of sports and basketball was his favourite.

Not long after his sudden and life-altering cancer diagnosis, Jay’s health began to steadily decline. It was his love for basketball and a wish made through the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada that kept his spirits high throughout his difficult medical journey and exhausting treatments.

While Jay was captivated by a slam dunk or a layup, he was equally drawn to the athlete’s creative eye in designing basketball shoes. His wish was to create a basketball shoe of his own.

“Every wish is unique, but every now and then one comes along that is so different than anything we have done before,” says Lyanne Goulin, the National Director of Wish Granting for the Children’s Wish Foundation. “This was a very exciting project to get behind. We knew that Jay’s time was limited, and that gave us the motivation to make it happen quickly.” What makes this wish extra special is that it’s the 25,000th granted by Children’s Wish.

Jay worked with a Toronto shoe designer, and together they created a shoe that was a fusion of Jay’s favourite designs. When the shoes were delivered to his hospital room, he put them on and walked the length of the hall, something that had often been difficult for him, due to his illness. He slept with his shoes on and wore them until he lost his battle with cancer in November.

Jayden in his new King Jay gear.

Jay would always say, “You’ve got to have fire on your feet.” It’s those words that inspired everyone to fulfill his wish, and moved Children’s Wish to do something more: something that would create a legacy, and help more children like Jay realize their most heartfelt wish. A wish provides a welcome distraction and respite from the pain and discomfort of coping with a life-threatening illness.

In a nod to his favourite basketball player, the King Jay brand was created, featuring a limited edition run of clothing, including shirts and sweatshirts. “In launching the King Jay brand, we can honour Jay and those we’ve been able to help before him,” says Goulin.

Funds raised from the sale of King Jay clothing will help support the Children’s Wish Foundation, as it works to grant wishes for the next 25,000 children.

You can learn more about Jay’s story, and purchase some King Jay clothing at www.kingjay.org.