After beating cancer, beating the buzzer was no big deal.
The hopes - and appetites - of an arena full of basketball fans were riding on Mike Shelly.
If Shelly made a layup, a free throw, a three-pointer and a half-court shot in 45 seconds, every person watching the Philadelphia 76ers play that night inside the Wells Fargo Center would win a free Chick-fil-A Chicken Biscuit.
“It was probably the quickest 45 seconds of my life,” Shelly said.
He breezed through the layup and free throw, but by the time Shelly sunk his three-point shot, only seven seconds remained.
He sprinted to half court. He only had one chance to make the shot. He dribbled the ball once and heaved it into the air.
Nothing but net.
The entire arena erupted into applause and Shelly was rushed by people congratulating him.
“It was awesome!” Shelly said. “I was in shock.”
But making that incredible shot isn’t the toughest challenge Mike has overcome.
The summer before his freshman year of high school, Shelly was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Doctor’s removed a softball-sized tumor from behind Mike’s colon and he had to undergo radiation treatment.
Today, Shelly is cancer-free and has a new outlook on life.
“I try and be the best I can each day and have a positive attitude,” Shelly said.
It also helped him find his calling. He’s currently enrolled in college studying nursing so that he can help people the same way medical staff helped him.
Recently, Shelly and his family had the opportunity to fly to Atlanta with the 76ers to watch an Atlanta Hawks game… and visit Chick-fil-A’s Support Center (what the company calls its corporate office).
“What an amazing kid he is and what a fighting spirit he has,” said Kathryn Alario, senior director, partnership activations for the Philadelphia 76ers.
While Shelly was in Atlanta, he took a Backstage Tour of the Chick-fil-A Support Center and took part in an employee half-court shot competition. For every shot that was made, Chick-fil-A donated $500 to a nonprofit that helps families battling childhood cancer, totaling $5,000 by the end of the competition.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I was chosen to show strength and show other people that it is possible to beat cancer,” Shelly said. “There is so much more to life than looking at the negative stuff.”