Wendy Brewster has been married to her husband, Marcus, for 15 years. They have three sons.
When it comes to the couple’s middle child, Maliq DeAndre Brewster, his mother often refers to him as “a chubby little guy” who, according to her, has always been “very friendly and active for his size.”
A senior at Memphis Southwind High, 18-year-old Maliq will be faced with what obviously is a good problem, of sorts.
For starters, Maliq is one of the most decorated students in Southwind’s forthcoming graduating class, considering he is the salutatorian for the Class of 2015.
Add to the fact that he boasts a laundry list of colleges vying to offer him an academic scholarship this fall, and it’s no wonder why things are holding up favorably for the No. 2 overall student in this year’s graduating class at Southwind.
“There is nothing he can’t do,” Wendy said in assessing her son’s academic success in recent years. “We are very, very excited to hear him at commencement. His speech, the part I have heard, will make me cry. He may be No. 2 at Southwind High, but he is one of our number ones.”
To get a thoroughly indication of why Wendy and her family will likely find themselves armed with Kleenex and handkerchiefs on graduating night, look no further than the tumultuous events that recently surrounded their son.
Approximately eight years ago, Wendy’s mother noticed that Maliq was losing weight at a seemingly swift pace, a sequence that seemed unfamiliar to his loved ones. Consequently, the Brewsters had taken him to a nearby pediatric center for observation. What they discovered shortly thereafter sent shock waves throughout their household.
After a scheduled referral by doctors and a couple of performed colonoscopies, it was discovered that Maliq was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
For the Brewsters, such news was apparently too difficult to stomach, in large part because they had no prior family history surrounding the disease.
“The doctor said, ‘You’re the sickest well-looking child I know,’” Wendy explained. “So, for the past couple of years, he was medicated but he had extensive swelling of the legs and losing protein. The next option was surgery.”
Even after undergoing multiple procedures and additional tests, it’s safe to assume that Maliq essentially had taken his illness in stride.
In fact, it seemed he had passed such an obstacle in flying colors just like his array of high school assignments
How else to explain why this academically-talent, gifted kid today owns a cumulative grade point average of 4.19?
“All of this and not missing a day of school,” Wendy said in assessing how her son conquered Crohn’s. “Even after appointments, he wanted to go (to school). He didn’t want to miss any school work.”
Exactly one week before Christmas, though, doctors had planned a surgery for Maliq only to discover he had more Crohn’s infection than the human eye could observe during preliminary tests, a development the Brewsters feared would ultimately give way to additional complications.
Consequently, Maliq underwent two blood transfusions, but the surgery had to be stopped because of excessive blood loss. After an approximately 24-hour delay, surgery was resumed and, according to Wendy, “It was a success.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Come graduation night, before Maliq’s name is called to receive his diploma, the Brewster’s middle child will likely recall his life-changing story capped by a dramatic comeback for the ages.
Chances are, there likely won’t be a dry eye in the place.
“He is our walking and talking miracle,” Wendy said of Maliq.
Now with arguably his life’s grandest occurrence all but a distant memory, Maliq now faces a much-anticipated dilemma, or a good problem, of sorts.
So far, he has narrowed his college choices to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, University of Memphis, Middle Tennessee State, Xavier-Louisiana, and Hampton University.
“I will encourage my peers to not give up and they can do anything they want,” said Maliq, when asked what he will discuss during his speech. “People will talk about you whether you do good or bad. There will always be criticism, so do what makes you happy. I want to be a male nurse, because I’ve come this far and overcome the adversities that have been set before me. So I believe I can do anything I set my mind to.”
Spoken like a walking and talking miracle.
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.