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The boy in the wheelchair looks like his handsome father. But those who know Chancellor Lee Adams say he is his mother’s child.

He has Cherica Adams’ sweet nature, her outgoing personality, the same determination.

Lee, as he calls himself, turns 10 on Monday and his grandmother, Saundra Adams, is throwing him a party. For her, his birthday is always bittersweet.

Lee was born of tragedy. His mother, Cherica Adams, was shot four times while driving home in Charlotte after midnight Nov. 16, 1999. Doctors delivered Lee in an emergency Caesarean section, 10 weeks premature. A month later, Cherica Adams died. Lee’s father, former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth, is in prison for hiring the hit man who killed her.

Though the bullets missed Lee, loss of blood and oxygen to his brain left him severely handicapped.

“The neurologist made it sound like he would never talk and never walk,” Saundra Adams said. “He gave me a grim outlook.”

Adams refused to accept it.

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