On October 31, DeMarre Carroll welcomed Sammy Kass and his family to Barclays Center for the Brooklyn Nets game against the Detroit Pistons.
Six-year-old Sammy received a liver transplant just before his second birthday, with his mother Dara as the donor. DeMarre, diagnosed with liver disease while in college at the University of Missouri, started the Carroll Family Foundation to support adolescents suffering from pediatric liver disease or disorders. With assistance from Champions for Philanthropy, they brought the Kass family out to see the Nets.
“It was great meeting Sammy and his family,” said Carroll. “Sammy is a brave young man who deserved a night out. When I started The Carroll Family Foundation with my wife Iesha the goal was to raise awareness of pediatric liver disease. We hope that last night brought attention to this important cause during Liver Awareness Month and awareness to all the people who help support the cause to make a difference.”
Along with his sister and his mother, Sammy had the opportunity to meet with Carroll at courtside before the game, then took the court himself as part of the team’s High Five line, greeting Nets players as they came out for the game.
“Tonight was truly special for Sammy,” said Dara Kass. “We don’t generally call attention to the fact that Sammy is a pediatric liver transplant patient, but when The Carroll Family Foundation reached out, we had to say yes. DeMarre actually understands what it is like to live with liver disease, and is working hard to bring awareness to others. For Sammy to see someone who overcame a health challenge to play basketball at the highest level was inspiring. Sammy is hoping he gets to be as tall as DeMarre, but we really can’t see that happening. So for now, he is just going to have to be his biggest fan.”