Northeastern High School senior Marcus Josey will have a special date on his arm come Homecoming evening Oct. 17, according to a news release.
After the two-sport athlete, who was diagnosed with leukemia this April, sent a brave request to Miss New Jersey Lindsey Giannini to attend homecoming with him, Giannini said "yes."
After noticing nosebleeds and back pains early this year, Josey's concerns were realized when Hershey Medical Center determined a diagnosis of acute lymphocytic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. A Twitter hashtag, #MarcuStrong, popped up in support of Josey.
Josey started chemotherapy after receiving the diagnosis, and will continue to receive treatment.
More than just a dance
Miss New Jersey Lindsey Giannini will take time when she attends Northeastern High School's Homecoming dance to address students about the dangers of texting while driving, said principal Mathew Gay.
Giannini was invited to the dance by senior Marcus Josey, a two-sport athlete, who was diagnosed with leukemia this April.
Gay said the district was contacted before Giannini accepted the invitation to make sure it would be OK if she attended.
"We looked specifically at Miss New Jersey's platform ... and we saw that one of her pieces is to eliminate or reduce texting while driving," Gay said of the factors the district considered. "We certainly have young people here who are emerging drivers."
Gay said he saw the opportunity for "synergy," since the high school has also taken a strong stance on safe driving and the dangers of texting while driving.
Gay said he is happy for Josey to have such a fun opportunity.
"Marcus is a great kid," Gay said. "He's charming, he's compelling, he definitely has some leadership qualities. I think he's taken it upon himself to support other kids who are dealing with illness. I think this is a pretty cool opportunity for him."
5 things you need to know about Josey's date - Miss New Jersey Lindsey Giannini
· Lindsey currently attends Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, where she has made the Dean's List while pursuing a Bachelor's in Journalism. The scholarship she received for being crowned Miss New Jersey will go towards finishing her education.
· Lindsey, 21, was crowned Miss New Jersey in June 2015. She will compete in the 2016 Miss America pagent.
· Lindsey is a talented dancer who has been studying the art since she was 3. She is a former professional Ballroom Dance instructor and choreographer who has taught students ages 9 to 90.
· Lindsey is dating professional racer Brennan Poole, who races in NASCAR's Xfinity series.
· Lindsey is an advocate for safe driving, co-founding PADD (People Against Distracted Driving," and received a formal endorsement for her work from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.