WASHINGTON — Elijah Taylor, a 13-year-old with an infectious smile, had the red carpet rolled out for him Friday night at Verizon Center.
“He makes everyone smile and everyone laugh. He loves everybody,” said his mother, Silreaka Taylor. She said when she adopted Elijah, his five siblings had already been adopted by other parents.
Elijah, of Beltsville, Maryland, suffers from spina bifida, a birth defect that affects the spine. Also, he has a condition which causes fluid to build up on his brain. Both life-threatening conditions have left him confined to a wheelchair.
Working with the Kids Wish Network, the Washington Wizards gave the teen celebrity treatment at Friday evening’s game. Elijah received a Wizards jersey with his name on it signed by the Wizards’ Bradley Beal. He and his mother also enjoyed courtside seats to watch the Wizards defeat the Miami Heat.
The teen refuses to let his adversity define who he is.
“I can do anything anyone can do,” Elijah said.
He said he is a basketball fan and was ready to play if the team needed his help.
“I can really shoot some baskets,” he said.
His mother said one thing others can learn from Elijah is to always be happy.
“He’s overcome a lot and everyday he’s cheerful, unless he’s sick — and he still wants to go to school,” his mother said.
Since her son isn’t able to get out like other children, this night was extremely special for him. She said Elijah now thinks he is an official member of the Wizards, and he already wants a Twitter account and a manager.