Former Alabama Crimson Tide Quarterback and Heisman runner-up AJ McCarron has a lot to celebrate. He married former Miss Alabama Katherine Webb July 12, and his wedding featured a very special friend as part of the wedding party.
Starla Chapman, a 5-year-old cancer survivor from Alabama, befriended McCarron after he visited her in the hospital in 2011, after she went into cardiac arrest. McCarron’s support of Chapman received national attention after he was seen wearing a Team Starla bracelet during the 2012 BCS National Championship, according to Starla’s support page. McCarron’s first leaked wedding photo shows him holding Chapman, who was a flower girl at his wedding.
Here’s what you need to know about this special little girl:
1. She’s in Remission
According to Al.com, Chapman in in remission after fighting leukemia. Specifically, she had Acute Myeloid Leukemia, which is very rare, according to her support page. Chapman will be starting kindergarten in the fall.
2. She is Alabama’s 2014 Champion Child for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
Chapman was declared Alabama’s 2014 Champion Child for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals on June 5. Part of her responsibilities as Champion Child includes appearing at Children’s Miracle Network fundraisers. She will meet President Obama in Washington D.C. and travel to Disney World in Florida with her family as part of the honor, Al.com reports.
3. ESPN Ran a Segment on Her Friendship With McCarron
ESPN created a segment telling the story of how Chapman and McCarron became friends during its 2013 College Game Day coverage. The piece featured McCarron talking about his natural bond with Chapman, since he spent time in the same hospital as Chapman after he was badly injured during a jet-skiing accident when he was five. McCarron’s mother called him, “just a little miracle” because of his recovery, according to Al.com.
4. Her Story Was Featured at the ESPY’s
According to SB Nation, Chapman’s story was featured as part of the “Don’t Give Up” moments at the 2014 ESPY’s. The Jimmy V Perseverance Award is awarded at the ESPY’s every year and raises money for The V Foundation for Cancer Research, whose motto is, “Don’t give up … don’t ever give up.”
5. Chapman Wore a ‘Cinderella-Style Dress’ Dress to the Wedding
Chapman wore what Al.com called a ‘Cinderella-style,’ dress pictured above, to McCarron and Webb’s wedding in Osage Beach, Ala. Chapman’s mother, DeAndrea, said of the wedding, “The entire McCarron and Webb family treated us just like family. It was just an amazing experience. From the moment she was asked to be in the wedding up until the wedding took place.”