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Wish Nation

Reflections on Granting Super Bowl XLIX Wishes

Make-A-Wish kid Shannon gives the thumbs up while at Super Bowl XLIX
Shanon is an 8-year-old who has devoted all his energy to overcoming leukemia since he was diagnosed in 2013. I had the privilege of meeting this amazing wish kid, along with the other 11 kids and their families, who wished to go to Super Bowl XLIX. What an honor to get to interact with these kids and their families! As an employee at Make-A-Wish America, I see, hear and write about wishes every day, but it is not every day that I get to actually interact with them. I had so much fun welcoming the kids and their families at a reception that Make-A-Wish Arizona held for them – complete with chocolate fondue and a ping pong table (Shanon has got some serious ping pong skills, y’all).

Shanon traveled all the way from Kentucky along with his mom, siblings and grandparents. Although he was tired and a bit shy when they first arrived, he completely came out of his shell once he realized that we were all so excited for him to be there – and that this was his weekend to let loose and just be a kid.

Make-A-Wish and the NFL granted 12 Super Bowl XLIX wishes in 2015.With all of the hype surrounding the Super Bowl, it’s easy to get caught up in the glamor and drama of it all. But what an event like this means to some (winning, losing, food, parties, etc.), actually means a whole lot more to others – others like the 12 kids whose one wish was to attend the Super Bowl. Kids like Shanon. All I can say is, THIS is what matters. Regardless of if your team won or lost, just know that there were some very positive vibes radiating from that stadium, and 12 families given the opportunity to focus on a once-in-a-lifetime experience rather than their medical conditions for once.

Shanon is now in remission, but seeing the contagious smile on his face, you would never know all that he’s endured and overcome. Knowing that he was at the big game, living out his most heartfelt wish, rooting on his beloved Seahawks, kept a smile on MY face throughout the shouts and cries and hollers which surrounded me. Deep down, I knew that the most spectacular hero had already won the most important game of all.

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Wish Nation gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Make-A-Wish®. See how wishes come together and how they change lives forever. Hear directly from those who work or volunteer here, or those who have been transformed by a wish. And learn why we are so committed to someday granting the wish of every eligible child, every year.

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