Kacey Reynolds thought he was back at his former high school last week to hear the band practice for an upcoming show.
Then, Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans appeared on a video screen above the stage in the Bates County (Ga.) High School auditorium.
And, a wish came true.
“I heard you are one of our biggest fans and that you’ve been battling through some tough times,” Evans said in the video. “A few years ago, the Buccaneers drafted me in the first round, and it was one of the best nights of my life. ... I’m excited to let you know you’re going to Nashville for the NFL draft to represent the Bucs and announce our first-round pick in front of millions of fans."
Reynolds, a 19-year-old from Maysville, Ga., is battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The Bucs are his favorite team, and Evans is his favorite player.
Announcing the team’s first-round pick in Thursday’s draft fulfills a wish Reynolds expressed after Make-A-Wish Georgia reached out to him about a year ago, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
“I was completely shocked when they played the video of Mike Evans and he said my name,” Reynolds told Buccaneers.com. “That was the minute I realized my wish was coming true.”
Reynolds was joined in the auditorium by his parents, Kenneth and Kelly.
“As a parent, you just want your kids to be happy,” Kelly Reynolds told Buccaneers.com. “The worst feeling is knowing that there’s nothing you can do to make things better. Seeing him smile was pretty special.”
Evans expressed a similar sentiment at the conclusion of the video message.
“I’m so excited for you and I know you’ll do an awesome job representing Bucs Nation,” he said. "I’ll be watching, Kacey. Go Bucs!”