Miles Boehm-North got the surprise of a lifetime.
It was just a couple weeks ago that the 10-year-old participant in the DeMar DeRozan Slam Dunk Book Club was one of more than 100 kids in the gymnasium at Rawlinson Community School for a chance to meet the Toronto Raptors star who lends his name to the reading club.
Club founder Patrick Rutledge picked Miles out of the sea of hands wanting to ask DeRozan a question. Miles, not expecting to picked, didn’t know what to say, and so he “started pouring my heart out.”
Miles reeled off statistics about DeRozan’s career, and then went into how he has a hard time making friends and gets picked on a lot in school. He then said DeRozan is someone he looks up to, and that he admires his work.
DeRozan responded, saying he too was picked on as a child.
Unbeknownst to Miles, DeRozan didn’t stop there. He asked Rutledge after the meet-and-greet who Miles was. DeRozan told Rutledge he was going “to send him some stuff” for Miles.
Early on Wednesday night, Rutledge walked up the steps to Miles’s family home, near Mt. Pleasant Road and St. Clair Avenue East, with a white box under his arm. It was a package from DeRozan meant for Miles.
The look of curiosity in Miles’s eyes turned to one of elation as he pulled out a DeRozan game jersey, signed by the Raptor: “#1 fan, thank you”.
Miles also received a signed We The North hat, a signed picture, an Atlantic Division champions t-shirt and several We The North stickers.
Rutledge said moments like that make all his efforts with the reading club worthwhile.
“It validates for me the importance of continuing to make this program grow and succeed,” he said. “Every year there’s a kid like Miles — one young kid who shocks us with something they do.
“It’s a good shock.”
As Rutledge left, Miles shocked again.
“Thank you for giving me the greatest gift I’ve ever received: the Slam Dunk Book Club,” he said.
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