TROJAN FAN: Physician, players surprise resident

Published 3:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2016

Lakesha Cannon and the Troy Trojans football team pose for a picture.

Lakesha Cannon enjoyed a surprise visit from Troy Trojan football players on Wednesday, thanks to the efforts of Dr. Mickey DiChiara. Cannon, a lifelong Auburn fan, received an autographed poster and some good-natured cajoling from the players and some of the athletic staff.
Cannon is surrounded by, from left, Patrick Peagler, B.J. Smith, Donavan Bostic, Seth Calloway, Justin Fuller, Justin Lucas, Dr. Mickey DiChiara and Jamal Smith.

A quick glance around Lakesha Cannon’s room leaves no doubt where her loyalties lie.

From the Tiger doorhanger to orange and blue crocheted blanket on her bed, the signed posters on the wall to the framed “#1Fan” license plate, she’s a proud Auburn Tigers fan.

“Every time I make rounds out here I give her a hard time about it,” said Dr. Mickey DiChiara, medical director at Troy Health and Rehabilitation. After all, he also serves as the team physician for the Troy University football team.

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“I’ve been telling her I was going to get her a Troy poster to put up over all those Cam Newton posters in her room,” DiChiara said.

So when half a dozen Trojan football players showed up at Troy Health and Rehab on Wednesday to meet Cannon, they came armed with an autographed poster of their own.

“Oh no, oh no you didn’t,” she cried to DiChiara. “This is a violation … but it’s the best violation ever.”

Cannon has been a resident at TH&R for nearly seven years, and like many of the residents there she’s developed an easy camaraderie with DiChiara. “She’s really sweet, really special,” DiChiara said. “Coming out here to see these folks is sometimes the best part of my day. So if I could do something special for her, I wanted to do it.”

So DiChiara talked with the players and coaches about Cannon, telling them of her love for football and for that other team. At lunchtime on Wednesday Seth Calloway, Justin Lucas, Justin Fuller, B.J. Smith, Donavan Bostic, Jamal Smith and athletic trainer Patrick Peagler gathered in the lobby at TH&R.

They formed an imposing group as they walked the halls to Cannon’s room, and she squealed with delight when DiChiara led them through the door.

“Oh no, oh no you didn’t,” she said. “I can’t believe you did this.”

The players spent about 20 minutes visiting with Cannon, posing for pictures – “You know this is going on Facebook,” she told them – and laughing as she called her father on speaker phone to share the excitement. “I just want you to know I am special,” she told him.

And Lucas teased Cannon about the poster. “We’re going to have to put it up over that one,” he said, nodding at an Auburn poster.

“Oh no you don’t,” Cannon quipped. “There’s room for you to fit in the family, but you can’t take that one down.”