Merry Christmas & Happy Birthday, Chancellor

Published 10:14 am Monday, December 19, 2016

He’s supposed to have received some CD’s – I understand ‘Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke is one of his favorite songs. 

I’m told he also got gift cards to Old Navy, Target, and the Apple Computer store. 

His DVD wish list included the animated movie “Planet 51”, with Dwayne ‘The Rock’, Johnson; and, Christian-themed films “War Room”, and “Book of Daniel”.

But he didn’t want any money, or pity either.

You see, this is the Christmas wish list for 17-year-old Chancellor Adams, and the majority of those gifts I mentioned were provided by the Monroe High School girls basketball team because the team ‘adopted’ Adams this Christmas as the family less fortunate than themselves they wanted to provide a Merry Christmas for.

He also celebrated a birthday yesterday.

Adams, if you’re not familiar, is the son of former Carolina Panthers receiver Rae Carruth and the late Cherica Adams, and he’s probably not supposed to be celebrating a 17th Christmas, much less a birthday.

HBO Sports’ Bryant Gumbel profiled Adams this fall – the second such feature on his life and struggles – as he not only approached the milestone of age 17, but also because he has learned to walk on his own and has greatly improved his upper body strength, dexterity and mental co-ordination.  All this before his father will be released from incarceration sometime next year just ahead of Adams turning 18.

Carruth was convicted in the plot to murder Cherica Adams and sentenced to 18-24 years in prison.

The younger Adams was born Dec. 16, 1999, delivered by emergency Caesarean section the same day his mother was taken off life support.  She had been shot by goons hired by Carruth because he didn’t want the responsibility of being a father.

He was also born with permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy after being without oxygen for more than an hour before birth as his mother lay in a coma, fighting for her life despite severe bullet wounds.

At first, Adams struggled to speak, to walk, to even do basic simple things as a child; but he has since made remarkable progress, mostly thanks to his maternal grandmother, Saundra Adams.   Mrs. Adams now says her grandson is “thriving, not surviving.”  It’s this fighting spirit that caught the eye of Monroe girls basketball coach Leroy Osborne.

“The way Chancellor has fought his entire life is inspiring to all of us,” Osborne told The Charlotte Observer. “We reached out to Saundra to see if we can provide a Christmas for Chancellor. From the first day of basketball tryouts, we told our team that this was our project and to go out and advertise it. In turn, we received a ton of responses. Everyone wants to help Chancellor have a better Christmas.”

The team received over 100 gifts and presented them to Chancellor Friday night when Monroe hosted Piedmont in a basketball game. Adams also served as honorary captain of the team before the game and afterward, all the members of the team took a picture with Adams at midcourt before presenting him with his gifts.

Osborne said the gifts included gift cards, a television with a DVD player, a football signed by the entire Duke University football team and Washington Redskins’ gear is also on the way to Adams’ Christmas tree from former Monroe football star, Jameson Crowder, who now plays for the ‘Skins.

Perhaps the greatest gift Adams can receive is the wish of his grandmother, that one day this young man – the boy they couldn’t kill – can live independently on his own.

Thirteen of Adams’ gift cards were extra special because each one came from a member of the girl’s basketball team.  While the group provided other gifts, the cards garnered the most praise from the recipient.

“Friday night is going to be really special for all of us,” Monroe senior forward, Quianna Parker told the Observer last week. “We just want him (Chancellor) to be happy. We want him to know that Friday is his night and it’s all about him and we want to make him feel important.”

Quianna, I think he already does.

Gene Motley is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7211