MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Josiah Greene found someone in the United States to help while serving on a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo -- cancer-stricken high school football star Shon Coleman.
The 25-year-old Army reservist was moved enough by Coleman's diagnosis in March with acute lymphoblastic leukemia to start a fund in the Auburn-bound offensive lineman's honor. Greene, also an Auburn student, has raised more than $12,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
"I kept posting to message boards, Facebook, and Twitter while friends back home did the same," Greene, an animal sciences major, said in an e-mail from Kosovo on Wednesday. "Pretty soon I was getting support from schools like Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and even Alabama. This had become bigger than one person and one school, so I started rallying folks from all over the nation."
Greene wears a patch honoring Coleman on his uniform -- with an orange ribbon dangling from the Auburn logo, surrounded by Coleman's name, his No. 77 and the image of a lineman in his stance. He carries an Auburn flag on marches, while others bear banners honoring their various nations.
Greene's request gained momentum when four former Auburn players currently in the NFL -- Ben Tate, Jerraud Powers, Quentin Groves and Marcus McNeill -- posted links to the tribute fund on their Facebook pages. ESPN.com also did a story on Greene and his efforts.
Coleman's mother, De Keisha Tunstall, appreciates everything is Greene is doing.
In an April 28 e-mail to Greene that is posted on the fund's Web site, she calls him "a very special young man" who "will always be family."
Tunstall did not respond to e-mails or Facebook messages from The Associated Press seeking comments. She posted on her CaringBridge page on April 9 that Coleman was cancer-free about two weeks after entering St. Jude.
On Tuesday, she posted that her son's treatment was going well and that he would soon be out of Phase 1, the induction phase, of his treatment.
"Induction has been described as the most difficult part of the treatment process," Tunstall wrote, "and Shon went through it like the warrior he is."
She said he has received two blood transfusions recently and must wear a mask outside the house because of a weakened immune system.
The 6-foot-7 Coleman, who played for Olive Branch High School in Mississippi, was one of the top signees in an Auburn recruiting class ranked among the Top 5 nationally.
He was widely regarded as Mississippi's top prospect, and Rivals.com rated him the nation's third-best offensive tackle.
That's not why Greene became so interested in Coleman, though. Or why he still follows his battle closely.
"Shon is a very special and talented guy," the reservist said. "I want to thank him for his courage and his will to stand up against a disease that shows no mercy or discrimination on who it will effect. I want to thank his mother for allowing me to get his story out to the nation and giving me the opportunity to help make a difference for not only his family ... but children and families who are battling through the same battle as I type this message."
Greene started raising money through the St. Jude Tribute fund. He said some $2,500 poured in over the first 12 hours.
Greene said he plans to continue the fund until Coleman is done with treatment, and possibly throughout the player's time at Auburn.
"It really goes to show the hearts of people and that it doesn't matter where you're from or what logo is on your T-shirt and hat -- compassion is still out there in this world, and people will rise to the occasion when presented with an opportunity to show it," Greene said. "This fund wasn't made successful by me, but the good hearts of the people back home. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of it.
"I pray for Shon and his family as well as others going through the same situation on a daily basis. I hope this fund has made just of positive of an impact on them as it has on me."