Aaron Donald trains with Ram’s Make-A-Wish receiver
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Kyle Frazier was training with Los Angeles Rams director of strength and conditioning Justin Lovett when he was interrupted.
Frazier, who was at the Rams facility while his wish was granted by Make-A-Wish, was going through practice when All-Pro Defense tackle Aaron Donald came in.
Get exclusive access to 3,000+ premium articles per year from top authors.
• Lowe: Kevin Durant’s mythical rise »
• Connelly: Best CFP semi-final ever? »
• Barnwell: 2023 fits Derek Carr »
More ESPN+ Content »
The couple had previously met via Zoom when Frazier’s wish could not be fulfilled in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, while Frazier was in high school, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Four months after his diagnosis, he was declared cancer-free and wanted to meet Donald, his favorite soccer player.
Frazier, 21, said the call to Donald was “emotional” and really helped him on his journey.
“Oh my god, he was so nervous,” Frazier’s mother, Kenya James, told ESPN. “He said, ‘Ma, I didn’t even know what to say. I was so nervous to talk to him.’ … It just kind of pushed him. Just more motivation for him to keep growing and learning and doing in sports and in classes.
And so, two years later, the Rams and Make-A-Wish teamed up to get Frazier to spend a weekend with the team, first complete a workout at the team’s facility, and then sign a one-day contract with general manager Les Snead . Frazier, an offensive lineman sophomore at Savannah State, stayed at the team hotel Saturday night and took the bus to SoFi Stadium on Sunday to watch the Rams play the Los Angeles Chargers. And while the whole weekend was great, Frazier said he was “thrilled” to be able to train with Donald.
Frazier also worked with Aaron Donald.
“Just being in the same presence as someone I look up to was amazing,” Frazier said. “…And the training surprised me. Now he got me through something, but I loved every minute of it. I appreciated it. I’ll never forget it.” pic.twitter.com/vSvGQNiVMm
— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) January 1, 2023
“Just being in the same presence as someone I look up to was amazing,” Frazier said. “I couldn’t find the words. And the training surprised me. Now he got me through something but I loved every minute of it. I appreciated her. I’ll never forget it.”
Lovett said as soon as Donald walked in to join the workout, “it was time to improve on what Kyle and I were doing.”
“AD is super competitive anyway and doesn’t care if I train with him or you train with him,” Lovett said. “He’s going to hit one of us. And it happened to be Kyle. So he showed him love, but also showed him that there is another level of pushing yourself to get where he is. So that was pretty neat and unique and it’s exciting to see you come in and get on board with him.”
While undergoing cancer treatment, Frazier lost nearly 60 pounds. But it was football that kept him going. Frazier had already signed for Savannah State and his coach assured him his place would be waiting for him.
“[After hearing that] my tears dried up. I just asked my doctor a few questions: ‘Is my cancer curable’ and ‘Would I be able to play soccer?’ And when I got word that both were a yes, that was my goal right then and there.
On Sunday morning before the game, Frazier stood on the sidelines at SoFi Stadium and watched the Rams warm up. He got goosebumps, he said, to be so close.
“It’s amazing,” Frazier said. “…Two great teams playing and yes. I’m thrilled.”