BY AMANDA MOSES
As we slowly enter the holiday season, many of us are concentrating on meeting with family, friends, and perhaps even hosting extravagant dinners. But for some of us, the holiday season reminds us of those who aren’t there to celebrate it with us. For the past four years, Carolyn Williams has had to spend not just every holiday season, but each and every day without her son, Malcolm Williams because of cancer.
In 2016, Williams passed away from cancer, leaving a black hole in his family’s lives and the lives of all of those that he touched in Spring Creek Towers. Although there are some wounds that time cannot truly heal, his mother and his friends have been working to keep his memory alive with fundraisers, memorial basketball games, and other endeavors to raise cancer awareness with the tagline E4M, which means “Everything for Malcolm.”
On November 21st, Spring Creek Teen Central hosted their fourth annual Malcolm Williams memorial basketball game in the Brooklyn Sports Club’s (BSC) gymnasium. The game was created by Spring Creek Teen Central Recreational Specialist, Juan Rosario and form-er staff member, Roger Beckford. Both men worked with Williams throughout the years and were deeply distraught when he passed away. They decided to create Baller’s Express, a tournament between alumni Teen Central members and current teens, using the jersey colors yellow and purple to represent osteosarcoma cancer.
Each team member was provided a jersey with the name Williams written across the back of it; it func-tions as a way to keep Williams’ memory alive and serves as a keepsake for the teens to remember their friend. Former Teen Central member, Davion Santiago wears a necklace with a picture of Williams on it, so that he can carry his friend in both his heart and for the world to see.
Many of the alumni went to school with Williams or they played sports with him. He graduated from Gateway Intermediate School (IS) 364 and grew up in the Spring Creek Towers’ community. He was only 15 years old when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma cancer, which is a form of bone cancer that affects fewer than 20,000 people per year, according to Mayo Clinic.
Williams played basketball, soccer, and even football, so when his leg began to hurt one day, he merely thought it was just muscle pain because of his active lifestyle.
However, when those aches did not cease and his leg became swollen, he had extensive medical tests conducted. After several doctor visits and an MRI, Carolyn Williams was told that her son had osteosarcoma. Malcolm Williams took the news in stride and never let the disease dampen his spirits. He continued to be active until the disease did not permit him to.
In commemoration of Williams’ steadfast determination to not let cancer define him, and his furious battle with the disease, his fellow students from Spring Creek Teen Central remember him through their annual basketball game, in hopes of spreading cancer awareness.
“This is a special event that touches my heart inside and out. It means a lot to my family that you all cared about my son, Malcolm and that his friends showed up to make this day a success. I would like to say to everyone who came out to the 4th Annual Baller’s Express E4M Memorial Tournament, thank you. Thank you to Juan and Roger for always organizing this event. There will be other events in the future to keep his memory alive,”
Carolyn Williams said.
Photos by Amanda Moses and courtesy of Carolyn Williams