A 10-year-old boy with a rare disease got a big surprise during a recent assembly at his Wisconsin school.
Ethan Kranig, who just had a birthday, was called out of the bleachers by Harlem Globetrotters star Zeus McClurkin, who wished him a belated happy birthday and awarded him a team jersey, a basketball and a very big hug.
Kranig has ectrodactyly-ectodermal dysplasia, a genetic disorder that causes a variety of ailments, including fused fingers and toes, a cleft lip and palate, growth problems, speech difficulties and vision loss.
Ethan is most affected by his failing eyesight, so much so that his mother took him on a beach vacation last year to Wildwood, N.J., just so he could see the ocean in his lifetime.
He saw just fine during McClurkin's recent visit and crowed with delight as he did the Globetrotter's trademark trick of spinning a basketball on his finger. Then McClurkin passed the spinning orb onto Ethan's fused fingers and the boy laughed with delight.
Afterward, McClurkin roused the children in the audience to chant "E-than! E-than! E-than," which left the boy speechless.
He later sat down with McClurkin and his mom. "I heard you always brighten everyone's day," the basketball player told Ethan.
"I always have a happy day," Ethan said.
As one last parting gift, McClurkin gave Ethan and his family tickets to see the Globetrotters play in Minneapolis on March 31.