Fans cling to the fences vying for their attention, but after their 9-0 victory over China the U.S. Women’s softball team crowd one extraordinary young fan. They are strong courageous women who know how to fight to the top with success. They’ve made it and Rachel knows she can too.
The hope and joy this 16-year-old wish kid received from her Make-A-Wish® experience to the Olympics gave her the strength to pitch her cancer into remission.
Rachel, a high school softball player, always looked to the U.S. Women’s softball team for inspiration. She watches every game on TV with her dad and knows all the players.
When her days at the pitcher’s circle were put on hold due to her acute lymphocytic leukemia, Rachel knew her greatest dream: to see the U.S. Women’s team compete for the gold medal – to watch their victory as she fights to triumph her condition.
Unfortunately, Rachel had to wait almost a year for her wish to come true – the next Summer Olympics. But it was the long wait of hope and excitement that kept Rachel strong during her treatments. Her dad, Rob, says even though Rachel used to fear needles she stayed upbeat.
At last, Rachel, her parents and her younger sister, Makenzee, were on their way to Beijing for 10 victorious days at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Her trip begins by cheering her team to cheering her idols to victory in the game against China. After the game she is surprised when International Softball Federation President Don Porter makes a special presentation to her.
“It was wonderful – way beyond expectations,” Rob says.
Rachel then meets the members of the team she has so long admired. She receives autographs, a jersey, bats and an official game ball. Coach Mike Candrea even gives her a lineup card from the game. To top it off, her favorite player, pitcher Monica Abbott, poses for pictures with her.
“When I know that I can bring a smile to someone else’s face, or that I bring chills to them, that just warms my heart so much,” Abbott tells NBC after meeting Rachel.
But Rachel’s wish experience is far from over.
She meets Olympic champion swimmer Natalie Coughlin and Women’s Discus gold medalist Stephanie Brown-Trafton during a pizza party organized by NBC for wish kids. Touched by Rachel and the ability to share the power of a wish®, Brown-Trafton joins her and her family on a tour of the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall of China.
The glory of the Olympics continues to follow her even on her flight home as she shares a flight with the U.S. Men’s volleyball and Women’s soccer teams, both of which won gold medals.
Meeting her softball heroes were definitely Rachel’s fondest memories though.