What an incredible honor would be for Notre Dame’s linebacker Manti Te’o to become the final choice to win this years Heisman Trophy, I’m sure one of the people in his mind would be Lennay Kekua.
Sadly and tragically 22 year old Lennay Marie Kekua lost her battler to leukemia on September 11 this year. Kekua and Manti Te’o had been dating for nearly a year, they were together through out this whole process and she only asked him for two things as she was feeling weaker: One, she wanted white roses when she passed away, and two, Manti could not miss anything football related.
The way to honor Lennay’s life would be for Manti to play on. And he followed her request, turning in two games that thrust ND into the national championship picture but also Manti into the Heisman race. Manti Te’o has suffered a total turmoil on that tragic day he did no only loose his dearest girlfriend but also earlier that day his parents gave him the sad news that his maternal grandmother, Annette Santiago had died in Hawaii after a long illness.
But to everyone’s surprise Te’o did not miss a practice that week, choosing to be with his teammates as they prepared for their game at then-No. 10 Michigan State, even though coach Brian Kelly told him he didn’t need to be there; Te’o calls it the hardest thing he’d ever had to do and no kidding! I mean can you imagine the kind of strength you need to be able to be focus and performed giving the circumstances! That really goes to show the kind of person he is, what a warrior.
And he was actually named after one, from “The book of Mormon” Lennay Kekua was a Stanford student and Cardinal football fan when the two exchanged glances, handshakes and phone numbers for the first time about three seasons ago. She was gifted in music, multilingual and had just like any other, big dreams.
According to Te’o’s father Brian, The two of them started as friends but every once in a while she would visit him in Hawaii, things eventually concluded in they becoming a couple. While they were together Lennay suffered a car accident on April 28th, she was hospitalized in California and had some complications during her recovery, apparently it was very serious. At this time as she was getting better from her injuries doctors discovered Kekua had leukemia.
Strong blow for everyone close to her I’m sure; for Lennay’s funeral he couldn’t be there but he stated during an interview he knew he had to honor her memory and life keeping his promise to her.
And now nearly three months later Manti Te’o is in position to make Heisman Trophy history, something Lennay Kekua would have wanted for him. Her family has send out tweets via her page. Follow her on Twitter here.
DeadSpin published an article calling Te’o's story about Lennay a hoax, according to them there are no records of her death at Stanford, birth certificate, no SSA record there of the death of Lennay Marie Kekua. The only evidence of her online comes from Twitter and Instagram.
But DS said the girl in the photos we all have known as Lennay is for sure a 22-year-old girl from California, very much alive but doesn’t goes by that name, but Reba.
[box type="info"] Manti Te’o did lose his grandmother this past fall. Annette Santiago died on Sept. 11, 2012, at the age of 72, according to Social Security Administration records in Nexis. But there is no SSA record there of the death of Lennay Marie Kekua, that day or any other. Her passing, recounted so many times in the national media, produces no obituary or funeral announcement in Nexis, and no mention in the Stanford student newspaper. Nor is there any report of a severe auto accident involving a Lennay Kekua. Background checks turn up nothing. The Stanford registrar’s office has no record that a Lennay Kekua ever enrolled. There is no record of her birth in the news. Outside of a few Twitter and Instagram accounts, there’s no online evidence that Lennay Kekua ever existed. The photographs identified as Kekua—in online tributes and on TV news reports—are pictures from the social-media accounts of a 22-year-old California woman who is not named Lennay Kekua. She is not a Stanford graduate; she has not been in a severe car accident; and she does not have leukemia. And she has never met Manti Te’o.[/box]