Roy Williams sends letter to bullied young fan with Asperger syndrome (pic)
North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Roy Williams brightened the day of a young fan who tragically experienced being violently bullied at school.
Drew Summerlin, 11, who has Asperger syndrome, suffered a concussion and was hospitalized after he was attacked during a lunch period at his middle school. His mother, Jamie, says weeks of cyberbulling preceded the physical abuse, featuring online comments so troubling that some included calls for the boy to commit suicide. Hateful words for Drew on Instagram included comments like “I pray for his death every night.”
“He was very broken. My son was broken. He sat on the couch, he had a concussion,” the boy’s mother said, per a WHEC report.
“I felt like no one likes me at all or thinks that I’m strange,” said Drew, who was still at home recovering one week after the attack at the time of a WHEC report.
Williams learned of Summerlin’s heartbreaking story despite the fact the young man lives in upstate New York — although the fact that Drew was wearing a Tar Heels jersey during a television news interview likely brought the story to the coach’s attention — and sent a thoughtful letterto the young man as well as an autographed photo.
Was just made aware of this note, signed photo that Roy/UNC Basketball sent to a boy in NY state who’s been bullied pic.twitter.com/SkVuJrO69b
— Mark Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) May 13, 2015
The letter reads:
The entire University of North Carolina Men’s Basketball team wants to show you our support and tell you how proud we are that you are a Tar Heel! Drew, I heard about what you’re going through and I wanted to let you know the entire team and coaching staff are thinking about you! I’m so sorry and upset with what you have been going through. Someday those kids will realize how terribly they acted and will be ashamed.
Drew, I want you to know that I am so proud for how you have handled things and know you are a kind person and anyone would be lucky to be your friend. Although life is not always easy, don’t ever give up and continue to be the person that you are and know that we are so proud of your strength.
Please stay strong and know that the Carolina Basketball staff and team are thinking about you and behind you.
An incredibly thoughtful gesture by Williams, to be sure, and one that probably went a long way towards helping young Drew feel some semblance of comfort over how horribly he has been treated by his classmates. What a heartbreaking, disturbing story. Sadly, it’s tragically all too common.
Between Williams’ act of generosity and how Tiger Woods also recently sent a letter of support to a bullied teen, it’s encouraging to know there are people out there using their celebrity to lift the spirits of youngsters who have had to experience far too much hurt in their young lives.
[H/T Lost Lettermen]