Top 5 Make-A-Wish Sports Stories
It is the most wonderful time of the year. That’s right! The holiday season (or Michael Buble’ season) is in full swing. Christmas is right around the corner for people like myself who celebrate it. There is nothing better than giving friends and family gifts. Receiving them is pretty fucking awesome too. I am not going to pretend like I don’t enjoy getting gifts. Presents are the best.
In the spirit of good feels, I decided to share my favorite Make-A-Wish stories that are bound to make you shed some tears.
5. Kevin Jones
Kevin Jones’ wish was granted at 5 years old. When he was just one, he was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder which led to multiple tumors. Being a huge Ohio State Buckeyes fans, Urban Meyer had Kevin come hang at the facility for the day and toss the pigskin with QB JT Barrett, now Chargers star Joey Bosa, and himself. They also surprised him and his family with Fiesta Bowl tickets.
4. Thiago D’Elia
At 15 years old, Thiago was enjoying his time with his high school basketball team. Then his world was turned upside down after being diagnosed with cancer. This put his basketball career on hold. He would still watch his team play when he had enough energy. He put in a wish with the Miami Heat. He was waiting for a cancer-free diagnosis when the Heat answered.
Upon answering the door, the Miami Heat cheerleaders had a special message from The King, LeBron James. He was able to go to the Heat practice facility and spend time with the Heat. He also played one-on-one with the guy he looked up to most, LeBron. He and his family also sat courtside for a game. LeBron gave Thiago his game worn shoes and signed them.
3. Jarrius Robertson
For New Orleans Saints fans, most of you probably know the story of JJ. He was born with a chronic liver disease. This kid is amazing. He has become an honorary member of the Saints. They gave him a one day contract a few weeks ago on national TV, which was awesome. I may rail on the Saints a lot, but when it comes to things like this, they are amazing. He was also in charge of the team’s Twitter for their game earlier this year when the Saints traveled to Kansas City. He was doing sideline reporting. Many of the players including Mark Ingram said it was the first time they followed the team Twitter intently. The kid has an awesome spirit. He also has no problem telling people like it is. Don’t dance in his end zone either.
2. Luke Akerstrom
I remember watching this story on Sportscenter in my room at my parents house and bawled my damn eyes out. Luke has a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalamyelitis (can’t even pronounce that shit). He suffered from a seizure and lost his ability to move an entire side of his body and nearly his ability to speak. Along his journey, former Jacksonville Jaguars center Brad Meester developed a relationship with Luke. This wasn’t your typical, hey you’re the make-a-wish kid so lets bring you to practice. No, these two had a real friendship. Meester visited him in the hospital regularly and at his home. I remember watching the video and his parents said if Meester gets traded or switches teams, they are probably going to move. They weren’t joking either. The best part of this is Luke’s dad was trying to help him learn to walk. His dad would use a walker to aid him. They were at Jags practice and Luke just dropped his walker and took five steps before reaching Meester’s arms. His first steps since the seizure were into the arms of someone he considered a best friend. You can’t make this up. I thought my heart was going to explode when I saw that.
1. Connor Michalek
As much as I love the story of Luke and JJ, nothing is topping Connor the Crusher. I am literally tearing up as a I write this because it is truly the greatest story with a very unfortunate ending. Connor The Crusher, as the WWE knew him by, was a little 8-year-old boy fighting a brain tumor he developed at three years old. His idol in the ring was Daniel Bryan. The WWE gave Connor a chance to meet his idol and pin Bryan’s main rival, Triple H, in front of all the locker room inside the squared circle. Connor was also given front row seats to WWE’s grandest stage of them all, Wrestlemania. That was when Connor had what was probably the highlight of his life. At Wrestlemania 30, Daniel Bryan defeated Triple H and went on to defeat Randy Orton and Batista to claim the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Bryan sought out Connor in the front row and brought him in the ring to lead in his signature “Yes” chant. I, for one, am glad I was able to see it live. Unfortunately, Connor died about three weeks after that moment. Since then, WWE has set up Connor’s Cure which is a program to help raise money for pediatric research.