LEXINGTON, Ky. (WYMT) - University of Kentucky football coach Mark Stoops was hired to lead the program out of hard times. But now Stoops and some of his players are helping a southern Kentucky boy through his hard times.
Kelly Melton, seven, was diagnosed with leukemia in November and has been undergoing intense chemotherapy treatments since then.
During his time at UK Children's Hospital he has received visits from Stoops, former UK football player Martavious Neloms, current UK football player Christian Coleman and former UK basketball player Nerlens Noel.
Melton said Neloms and Coleman are his favorite players.
"They're both my best friends," he said. "I met both of them at the hospital and then I met them again at the (spring) game...I made them friends."
"They are encouraging me to not give up. And (encouraging) my mom and dad to not give up. So we haven't given up yet. We haven't stopped my treatments. I'm still going."
Melton was given the royal blue treatment recently - a tour of the Wildcats' locker room, a behind-the-scenes look at other UK football facilities and a sideline pass to the Blue/White scrimmage.
After the game, Stoops saluted Melton in front of the whole team and awarded him the game ball.
Melton said the experience was "awesome."
"He was very nice," Melton said of Stoops. "You can respect that guy."
Kelly's dad, Harrison Melton, said his son is handling the situation better than he is.
"I broke down one evening and (Kelly) asked me why I was crying," he said. "And I said, 'Well, I'm worried about you.' And he said, 'Don't worry about me. I'm going to kick this and if I don't and I die, I'll go to heaven. So why are you worried?'"
Kelly is halfway through a nine-month stint of aggressive chemotherapy.
You can follow his Facebook page, "Kickin' It 4 Kelly," here: https://www.facebook.com/Kickinit4Kelly