A thank-you.

Since my column about Deshawn Chatman — a young basketball player coping with his mother’s drug addiction — ran in the Free Press last month, people have done some incredibly generous things. These range from a woman who sent blankets — because Deshawn has been living without heat for several years — to none other than the Pistons’ Grant Hill, who, having read the story, invited Deshawn to a game and met with him afterward for a private conversation.

At the end of that meeting, Deshawn asked Hill if he could one day have one of his jerseys. Hill looked at him and pulled the sweaty one he was wearing right off his back.

“Here,” he said, smiling, “take this one.”

That says a lot about the human spirit. And I thank all the many readers on

behalf of Deshawn Chatman for their generosity. Many others have written and

called asking how they, too, can help. So a fund has been set up to assist this young man in getting the essentials, from clothing to better housing.

Those wishing to contribute may make checks payable to The Youth Fund and send them to Detroit Free Press Sports Department, 321 W. Lafayette, Detroit, Mich. 48226.

Those wishing to contribute something other than money can contact coach Ben Kelso at Cooley High School, 1-313-866-9462.

By Mitch Albom

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