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VIDEO: Samford signs 7-year-old fighting rare congenital disease

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

The recent increase by college programs to signing/aligning themselves sick children has brought a very positive light to college sports. Bittersweet as it may be, this is one trend I think we can all agree should continue. We saw it with Bo Pelini at Nebraska earlier this year. Recently, Xavier signed a youngster with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastom to its team. Bradley hoops did the same with a pair of brothers.

We had our latest example come Tuesday, with Samford stepping up and holding a press conference for Nathaniel "Biggie" Henderson, a 7-year-old who suffers from CLOVES Syndrome, a disease so rare that there are less than 100 diagnoses worldwide, according to Samford. (CLOVES stands for Congenital, Lipomatous Overgrowth, Vascular malformations, Epidermal nevi and Scoliosis/Skeletal/Spinal anomalies.) In a press release, Samford described Henderson's hellish fight with the disease.

"Henderson's CLOVES manifests itself through complex vascular abnormalities and masses along with severe overgrowth on the right side of his body. He has had three surgeries to remove masses on his chest, arm, and the latest, on May 29, to amputate the bottom half of his right leg which had grown two to three feet longer than his left. He is still healing from his leg amputation, but is excited to get fitted for a prosthetic. Henderson also has a tracheotomy to help him breathe because his esophagus was pushed to the side from overgrowth."

Bulldogs head coach Bennie Seltzer delivered a custom No. 5 (the child's favorite number) Samford jersey to Henderson, stitched with "BIGGIE" on the back.

Thanks to NBCSports.com for the tip on what's a pretty great gesture on behalf of Samford. With this, Samford notes Biggie is the "17th member of the 2013-14 Bulldogs." The child is from Birmingham, Ala., nearby Samford's campus. If possible, wouldn't it be great to see him lead the team out of the tunnel at some point this season?

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