K-State’s Jerome Tang makes surprise KC hospital visit to spina bifida patient

K-State men's basketball coach Jerome Tang visited Taylor McWilliams at Children's Mercy...
K-State men's basketball coach Jerome Tang visited Taylor McWilliams at Children's Mercy Hospital Thursday morning.(McWilliams family)
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 12:45 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Hours before K-State tipped off against TCU in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals, head coach Jerome Tang made a trip to Children’s Mercy to surprise a young fan he had never met.

Taylor McWilliams, 18, has spina bifida and has been hospitalized for a week with an infection. She’s undergone two surgeries.

When she woke up Thursday morning, she immediately asked her family if K-State was playing that night. So, her father Lucas messaged Tang on Twitter with her story.

“What’s your daughter’s name so I can pray for her,” Tang responded.

“I just thought, ‘What a great family, with everything that’s going on,’ and hated that she was in the hospital,” Tang said. “Wondered if there was something I could do.”

Later that morning, Taylor and her mother, Brittany, were sitting in the hospital around 11:30 a.m. when they saw someone at the door.

Assuming it was a nurse or a doctor, they looked up to find Coach Tang himself.

“That’s probably the coolest thing that’s ever happened,” Brittany said. “Like, just to have somebody deeply care enough just in general and be that type of human being, I can’t put it into words. It’s incredible. Incredible.”

“I knew if that was my daughter in the hospital -- and there was somebody who could make her day and they had the time, that they took the time to do that -- how much it would mean to me,” Tang said.

Brittany said Tang asked how Taylor was doing and offered words of support.

While the ‘Cats may have lost, Tang brought Taylor some good luck. She got the news Friday morning she’d be discharged from the hospital.

“I don’t know if he’ll ever understand the impact of just spending five minutes with us yesterday had, and what a morale boost it was,” Brittany said. “It’ll impact our family forever.”

“God has given us this platform for us to make a difference in peoples’ lives,” Tang said. “It’s more than just basketball, wins and losses. It’s how you make people feel; that’s what they’ll remember. Any time I have the opportunity and time to do it, I want to do what I can to help people. I believe that’s my calling in life.”