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Inspired, Landon Foster’s Trip to Ethiopia Didn’t End in Africa

Every Summer a select group of UK student-athletes take a mission trip to Ethiopia.  We always hear great things, but nothing is more inspiring than Landon Foster’s story.

Foster volunteered last Summer, alongside Bud Dupree and Braylon Heard, but what’s happened since he’s returned is eye-opening.  Jen Smith of The Herald Leader discovered that Foster made a friend for life during his visit.  Foster tried not to get too attached, but his emotional wall came crashing down when he met Dejene.

The somewhat pesky 14-year old had a heart of gold.  An impoverished boy with nothing only wanted to help others.

“He’d spent much of his time digging through the dump for food to live on and then he tells me he wants to be a cardiologist,” Foster said, shaking his head. “It struck me as such a perfect metaphor for how big of a heart he has.”

Foster was so touched that he stayed in touch with Dejene, working with the organization to sponsor Dejene, sending $50 out of his own pocket each month.

The adolescent touched many others, including Foster’s Mother, and a family from North Carolina.  Their compassion helped Dejene move to America.  Now known as Josh, he will reunite with Landon on the Commonwealth Stadium field tonight.

It’s a remarkable story, one that is tough to read without feeling emotional.  Even though today is one of the biggest days in the program’s history, it pales in comparison to Josh’s journey.


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

2 Comments for Inspired, Landon Foster’s Trip to Ethiopia Didn’t End in Africa

  1. Janie
    12:13 pm September 5, 2015 Permalink

    This story is, hands down, the best of the day no matter what happens tonight. So proud to have players with hearts of compassion! Way to go, Landon! GO CATS!

  2. CatsFanFrankfort
    12:34 pm September 5, 2015 Permalink

    What a fantastic story. It’s wonderful to hear some of the great things that these guys do. You know that most universities have trips like this, but its just awesome when stories like this come out, and its even more inspiring that this boy was able to change his life in such a drastic way because of them. Great for the child, the families, the university, and for Landon. Consider me extremely impressed with his compassion and dedication.