Morrisville, NC

7-year-old with Down Syndrome Realizes UNC Dream with Surprise VIP Experience

The Triangle Tribune
Phoenix Bryant, wearing UNC jersey, with family and UNC forward Justin McKoy.Photo byCourtesy of DO3

Staff Reports

MORRISVILLE – Dream On 3, a national nonprofit, hosted more than 700 guests at its annual fundraising event, the Dream Gala, in January. During the program, ACC representative Amanda Lewis and UNC basketball forward Justin McKoy took the stage to reveal a big surprise for one special guest and his family.

Phoenix Bryant, of Morrisville, lives with Down Syndrome. He is an energetic kid who usually can be found with a basketball in his hand or, in season, catching a Tar Heels game with his dad and brother.

GiGi’s Playhouse-Raleigh referred Phoenix to DO3 to be considered for a Dream Experience, the organization’s signature program. DO3 helps children and young adults, ages 5-21, who are living with life-altering conditions realize their sports dream. Recipients receive a customized, VIP sports experience that also includes luxury accommodations, transportation, dining and more.

Lewis and UNC football coach Kevin Donnalley brought a surprised Phoenix to the stage to make the announcement. That dream became a reality at the Feb. 25 UNC vs. Virginia game in Chapel Hill.

UNC student leaders and members of the UNC Collegiate Dream Team planned the event. The group was involved in planning and fundraising to ensure Phoenix had a first-class experience. In addition to attending the game, Phoenix and his family received a UNC athletic tour and shoot-around with the players and coaches, in addition to interaction with the soccer team and CDT members at UNC’s indoor complex.

The DO3 is headquartered in Charlotte, with chapters serving the Carolinas, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland and Georgia. Visit for more information.

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The Triangle Tribune is a part of The Charlotte Post Publishing Company. We are a multimedia conglomerate that covers the Triangle's African American community in community news, business, HBCU sports, health, and arts and lifestyle since March 1998.

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