In last week’s blog post – Detroit Lions’ tight end Joseph Fauria completed Jimmy Fallon’s N’sync dance challenge raising $10,000 for Make-A-Wish – we thanked Fauria, Fallon and Justin Timberlake for the contribution. This week, we thank the many generous community members, students, professional athletes, coaches and other long-time fans who have helped our wish kids see their greatest football wish come true.
A Touch Football Game with Mickey Mouse
For 4-year-old Kaden living with a life-threatening autoimmune disorder, there could be nothing better than mixing his favorite sport with his favorite Disney character. Kaden wished to play football with Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney World® Resort cast members, Tyler Junior College students and professors and Make-A-Wish North Texas volunteers stepped up to make his wish experience the best day possible. “They will probably never know how much this meant to our son, and how much it meant to us to know that there are people out there who are willing to give so much and expect nothing in return,” said Kaden’s mom.
NCAA Football with “the Red Team”
When McClain wished to play football with real football players, the USC Trojans football team did everything they could to make a great experience for him. Everyone from the players, coaches and USC staff came together to welcome McClain onto the field. Upon hearing a Make-A-Wish kid was visiting, Kyle Negrete said, “Give me his number. I want to make this day as special as possible.” He tossed the ball around with Kyle and the rest of the team. He even stood on the sidelines of the field with his USC jersey on during the game. “It was way above what we expected would happen,” said McClain’s dad. “This is a day that he’ll cherish forever.”
Arena Football: Mick & the Pittsburgh Power colors
Mick received a phone call from Head Coach Siegried of the Pittsburgh Power arena football team with a contract offer to play – his wish come true. The Arena Football League and the Pittsburgh Power team made it official with a press conference to seal the deal. Instead of worrying about his life-threatening medical condition, Mick runs practice drills with his favorite team then dons his black and gold jersey ready for the game. Even the Pittsburgh Power fans became involved in his wish asking the new football star for his autograph. The experience empowers Mick as his motivation to overcome the trials of his condition. In addition to the AFL, Make-A-Wish thanks Carla Leo and Doug Kunst for producing Mick’s wish video.
NFL Football: Anna & the Green Bay Packers
“We hear you have a special wish and we are here to make it come true,” said Aaron Rodgers and Al Harris, NFL’s Green Bay Packers players, in a surprise video message for 13-year-old Anna. After surviving a heart transplant, Anna makes a trip to meet her favorite team at Lambeau Field. She huddles with the team at practice, talks to Aaron Rodgers and has lunch with Al Harris. Anna leaves the field not only with a great experience and signed paraphernalia, but also with a renewed sense of hope for the future. At Make-A-Wish we thank all the NFL teams that have helped grant wishes and ESPN’s “My Wish” series for highlighting our sports related wishes.
The Super Bowl: Noah at “the Big Game”
The roar of the stadium and the adrenaline rush of the biggest sporting event of the year for football fans - this is Noah’s wish. He attends Super Bowl XLVI with his best friend Eli. They stand in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana. Together, they watch as the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-7. Together, they find the enthusiasm to stay strong as Noah tackles leukemia. Every year, Make-A-Wish is able to send wish kids to the Super Bowl with the support of the NFL and other generous individuals donating airline miles, cash and their time.
For its endurance and strength, football will continue to catch the attention of wish kids across the country as they strive to their end zones of recovery. And with your help our Make-A-Wish team can continue to grant football wishes. Join us as we enjoy the season along with our wish families.