Chase McDaniel at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston (left) and with his prom date Jaida.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

Georgia high school student battling cancer has setback after heartwarming prom story

Ever since his cancer diagnosis in April, Chase McDaniel’s selflessness has been inspirational to many.

The 16-year-old Carrollton High School football player took his date, Jaida, to the school prom despite learning he had Stage 3 lymphoma that morning. He said he didn’t want to disappoint her. 

RELATED: Georgia teen doesn’t let cancer diagnosis stop him from attending prom

That act of goodwill garnered him statewide attention, including gifts and meetings from elite athletes. But now, his family told Channel 2 Action News that McDaniel, who is 17, needs all the support he can get.

He has been in intensive care at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston for more than a month, his mother, Kiki McDaniel, said. She has been counting the days since his Sept. 17 setback, which happened during a dinner where the high school linebacker met Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

“I stay here every night,” she told Channel 2 on Monday, which was his 33rd day in ICU. “I’m with Chase every single day.”

The meeting with Ryan came a few months after retired NBA star Dwyane Wade sent the student a care package and a message, saying, “My belief is stronger than your doubt.”

MORE: Dwyane Wade sends care package to Georgia high school student fighting cancer


Kiki said the early rounds of chemotherapy went well. However, he’s been feeling ill ever since that special dinner, Channel 2 reported. 

“One thing about being in the hospital is you can feel forgotten,” Kiki said.

His high school and peers have certainly not forgotten him. 

The Carrollton High football team named Chase a “co-captain,” and he was able to take part in ceremonial coin tosses early in the season, Channel 2 reported. Each game, a teammate has worn a jersey sporting his number (42), and the team’s motto for the season has been: “We do it for Chase.”

So far, the team is undefeated.

Carrollton High has dedicated this season to its linebacker, who is battling cancer.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

His classmates also voted him co-homecoming king

“It’s been really amazing to watch the way our entire Carrollton Trojan nation has just been there for us and our family,” Kiki said. “It’s been amazing.”

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