DJ Maiden

It took tremendous bravery for Donald Maiden, Jr., known as D.J., to testify in court in 2015 about the man who shot him in the face. Two years earlier, Maiden was just 8 years old and walking in the parking lot of his Lake Highlands apartment when Brian Cloninger, 46, took out his frustration on the boy. The out-of-work plumber was at the complex to visit a prostitute and had been using alcohol and prescription drugs that day.

Cloninger received a 45-year sentence, and Maiden underwent years of surgeries and other treatment to repair his face. Though he initially told his family he didn’t want to return to school because he imagined he “looked like a monster,” his classmates welcomed him back with open arms.

Tuesday night he was dealt another tough blow.

While playing running back for Lake Highlands Junior High, the 8th grader broke his ankle at Wildcat Stadium. In an injury reminiscent of Redskins Quarterbacks Alex Smith and Joe Theismann, onlookers said the poor kid’s foot was facing the wrong direction after the on-field collision. Team mom Jenny Dunn, a registered nurse, administered aid until an ambulance arrived, and the team sent a signed football with their wishes for a speedy recovery. They’ve also set up a meal train to provide food for the Maiden family.

If you’d like to help, you can sign up to donate to his family or buy a restaurant gift card for a meal online here.