Having solid friendships in our lives can help us find purpose and meaning, stay healthy, and live longer.
Friends help us during lonely times and especially when we’re dealing with an illness or recovering from a surgery, having good friendships in our lives help to overcome this.
Fifty-two-year-old Keith McCants is a first-hand witness to the power of friendship when it helped save his life from sure death.
McCants was to be the next big football star as the first-round draft pick of the Bucs in 1990, but struggled physically in his short career. “That’s me praying to God, to help my knee,” said McCants, pointing to a picture of himself praying on the field while wearing a knee brace.
His injuries led to pain pills which led to addiction which led to prison. But thank God for sending a good friend like Robert Blackmon into his life at the right time or else it would have been worse.
“In 2010, I was home from college and was reading the newspaper and saw he (McCants) was arrested for the 14th or 15th time for crack cocaine possession and in his mug shot he looked so incredibly sad,” said Robert Blackmon.
Blackmon is a St. Pete city councilman, and was only 21 at the time and says he knew he had to do something to help. “So I reached out to him and said ‘hey I understand where you’re coming from. I know life can be tough. Is there any way we can save your life?’
He immediately called back and said, ‘I think this is a God-send, I feel like I have no options, I don’t know where to turn or what to do,'” said Blackmon. “Quickly, I understood that I had no expertise in dealing with such things but I just tried to help him out with whatever he wanted.”
McCants desperatley wanted a true friend in his life and Blackmon answered that call and made a huge difference with a friendship of 10 years. Blackmon has helped McCants work to overcome his addiction.
After he walked with a cane for 20 years, Blackmon says the NFL declined to help pay for McCants’ hip surgery. A true friend that he is, Blackmon paid thousands in co-pay out of his own pocket, with the goal of changing the life of a dear friend.
“Anybody can change a life,” said Blackmon. McCants hopes to be able to walk on the beach without a cane after his surgery and wants people to know about his story and realize how a good friendship helped save lives.