I wrote earlier this month about Damiyah Telemaque-Nelson, the little girl from Washington, battling Burkitt’s lymphoma, who decided she wanted a pink wig from Nicki Minaj. After John Wall heard about her wish, Miyah met the Wizards star at Verizon Center, where together they filmed a video request for Minaj. Within hours, the singer saw their video, and promised to make it happen.
“I knew [Minaj] had a caring heart, and when she had an opportunity to see it or read about it, I knew she’d reach out as soon as she could,” Wall told me then. “I just thank my fans, everybody who retweeted it and reposted it, to give me the opportunity to make this girl’s wish come true. And we’ll try to make it happen.”
It took less than a month. Wall got in touch with Minaj’s people about setting up a rendezvous. The original plan was to fly Miyah and her mom to California. But the singer took an unplanned trip to the East Coast, and one of Minaj’s managers told Wall Sunday morning that she had time that night, and so Miyah’s mom – Kadisha Telemaque — was told to get ready for a train trip to New York.
Four hours later, mom and daughter — along with two representatives from the Wizards — were on an Acela train headed north, the first train trip of Miyah’s life. Wall was in Charlotte in advance of Monday’s Wizards road game, but he texted several times with senior director of community relations Sashia Jones, asking for updates on their progress and about how Miyah was handling the trip.
When they got to Manhattan, the crew went to a recording studio to meet Minaj. And after the singer assured Miyah that she was beautiful no matter what was on her head, she presented the girl with a big box covered with ribbons, which had a pink wig inside.
“Her smile, it lit the room up,” Kadisha Telemaque told me. “To her, it was all like a dream.”
Wall also dialed into the studio via FaceTime, so the three could have a brief conversation. He said hi to Miyah, and thanked Minaj for getting involved. Miyah also gave the singer and her manager autographed Wall jerseys.
“Everything works out and came out in favor of helping a little girl that went through cancer and still deals with it,” Wall said to The Post’s Michael Lee. “Miyah got what she wanted.”
The traveling party left Minaj around 11 Sunday night; they got home around 4 Monday morning. When Miyah woke up, she tried on her new wig for her older brother and wore it for 30 minutes. Her mother has already decided that they will bring the wig when they visit some of Miyah’s friends at Children’s National Medical Center, “to let them know that everything is going to be okay and wishes can come true.”
Wall offered his thanks to Minaj and her manager for setting up the meeting; “hopefully they’ll become Wizards fans and my fans,” he added. Miyah is now a fan of both the basketball player and the singer; “Damiyah is in love with John; she tells people she loves John, and everyone else has to love John, too,” her mom joked. And Kadisha Telemaque offered her thanks to pretty much everyone, including Jones, the Wizards, Minaj and Wall.
“Honestly, I just want to tell him thank you,” she said of Wall. “I thank him for being so humble through this whole situation. Even as a star, he didn’t forget that he’s a human as well. … And we want to thank Nicki and her camp for making it possible. We’re very thankful for the opportunity to meet her, and just allowing Miyah’s wish to come true.”