Here’s your daily dose of sweetness:
Cooper Dawson and Kingsley Feinman, have changed each other’s lives.
Dawson is your basic jock. Feinman is your basic person with cerebral palsy.
They got to be pals during their freshman year at Hanahan High School, near Charleston, S.C.
Over the summer, Kingsley’s mom asked Cooper if he’d like to be one of his aides who helps him get through the day. Cooper did.
“We have very few people who we trust to help us with these daily rituals of feeding and medication,” she tells Syracuse.com. “It’s a lot to take on. It’s a major responsibility. Most people don’t step up to take on that responsibility.”
But they didn’t just sit around for a couple of hours. The did things.
So, Dawson opened up Kingsley’s world to typical teenager stuff he’d never get a chance to do with a grown-up. They’d go to movies. They’d meet girls. They’d wheel Kingsley up to the door of a friend’s house, ring the doorbell and ditch him on the front step. He loved it.
Dawson knows Kingsley is girl crazy, so one day he organized a pool party at Kingsley’s house and got him in the pool with the girls. It was heaven.
Last spring, Kingsley wanted to go to prom. Dawson, not much of a dance guy, still dressed up, still asked a date to join him at a dinner party at Kingsley’s house and still took prom pictures outside.
“It’s been a blessing in our lives,” Kingsley’s mother said.
Kingsley, too, has been a blessing for Dawson. The 6-foot-5, 245-pound defensive lineman tore his ACL at a football camp at Clemson in June. Dawson and the football team would rag on Kingsley for never watching them play on Friday nights in the fall.
Of course, ahead of their senior year, Kingsley finally committed to attending a game and Dawson would be sidelined for the season.
Kingsley still went to a game, and Dawson was there to wheel him out with the team, then to midfield to slap hands with the players, then around the stadium so he could soak in the sights.
“I feel like my day kind of revolves around how other people are feeling,” Dawson said, “so if I can make somebody else happy, then I’ve pretty much accomplished my day and I find peace with it.”
This week, when it was time for Cooper to announce what school will get his football services, he let Kingsley have the spotlight.
“They’re friends, and as opposite as they are, as physically capable as Cooper is and as incapable and disabled as Kingsley is, it’s not about that in terms of friendship,” Kingsley’s mother said.
“You don’t have to have that in common. It’s ‘Do you connect?’
“They just do.”