TULSA, Okla. -- The appearance on an NBC talk show was a result of 50 letters, all written to Ellen DeGeneres calling Emeka Nnaka a Tulsa treasure.
She invited him to Los Angeles, surprising the former football player on air.
"To see it come to this culmination of the fruit of good attitude planted... that was overwhelming to say the least," Nnaka said.
Nnaka's friends were inspired by seeing him persevere after being paralyzed at age 21, then facing a series of challenges these last few months.
He totaled his only form of transportation, his father and caretaker was injured, and Nnaka's home was lost in a fire. Yet he continued to volunteer across Tulsa.
"I get a chance every single day to at least provide some little spark of sunshine and hopefully help them create their own sunshine in their own lives," Nnaka said.
The biggest surprise of all? Nnaka came back to Oklahoma with $100,000 donated from the show. His friends say no one is more deserving.
"I remember him just driving around in his wheelchair in the Walmart parking lot in the bitter cold when he didn't have a van because he was volunteering at Youth Services," Michael Fletcher said.
When the fire first broke out Nnaka said he would rise from the ashes. Now he plans to use this opportunity to help even more people moving forward.
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