Minneapolis (July 16, 2012)
- What would it be like shooting baskets with a NBA champion and MVP? Or tossing the football around with a NFL receiver and quarterback? How about slapping the puck around with a NHL player or racing around the track with a NASCAR driver? Or teeing off with one of the most exciting young PGA Tour golfers? Wish kids can tell you.
Those are the sports-themed wishes granted by Make-A-Wish® in collaboration with the seventh-annual ESPN “My Wish” series, airing Sunday, July 15 and running through the week.
The summer series profiles wishes coming true for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Each segment takes viewers on an in-depth and often emotional journey into the children’s lives, medical conditions, the wish-reveal, and the transformative experiences with their favorite athletes. Emmy Award-winning reporter Chris Connelly will again host with participation from the following wish-granters: the Miami Heat’s LeBron James, Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin, Philadelphia Eagles’ DeSean Jackson, PGA Tour’s Rory McIlroy NASCAR’s Kyle Busch, and the New York Jets’ Mark Sanchez.
LeBron James with 17-year-old Thiago from Peachtree City, Ga., an avid basketball fan and cancer survivor. He met his favorite team - the Miami Heat - and his favorite player - LeBron.
Alexander Ovechkin with 16-year-old Sam from Boise, Idaho, who plays on his high school hockey team despite recovering from lymphoma. He got to skate with his hero, Ovechkin, and ride a Zamboni at a Capitals game.
DeSean Jackson with 10-year old Donovan from Atlanta, who has been dealing with a life threatening blood disorder but has not lost his love of sports. Like Jackson, he is left-handed and wears #10.
Rory McIlroy with 13-year-old Tucker from Waconia, Minn., who has had three open heart surgeries. He can no longer compete in contact sports, but plays golf and got to spend a day with his favorite golfer and hero.
Kyle Busch with 8-year old Kyle from Stanwood, Wash., a quarter-midget car racer with a progressive neurological disorder. He got to meet Busch at the Sprint All-Star race.
Mark Sanchez with 13-year old Jesus from Beulaville, N.C., who beat leukemia. He got to meet his hero, attend a Jets game, and sign a “contract” with the team as honorary member for the day.
“It’s great to be back for our seventh season of My Wish,” says Connelly. "From the beginning, it’s always been a privilege for me just to step into the homes of these families and hear their powerful stories. It’s impossible not to be moved by these parents’ love and dedication and belief in the face of the unthinkable — the life-threatening illness of a child. Once again, we have terrific young people to introduce you to this year, along with the athletes who fulfill their really heartwarming wishes and put some unforgettable smiles on their faces.”
“The My Wish series allows viewers to see firsthand the power and impact that a wish has on each wish kid we serve,” said David A. Williams, Make-A-Wish® America president and chief executive officer. “Join us in watching the connection that grows between these kids and their favorite athletes. The support and dedication that ESPN puts into sharing each story matches our vision of granting the wish of every eligible child.”
Each wish will be the subject of a SportsCenter feature segment beginning Sunday morning, July 15 with a new piece to premier every day that week. Each feature will also be available at ESPN.com following its original air date.
Team ESPN encompasses ESPN’s multi-faceted corporate outreach initiatives, including volunteerism, corporate giving and cause marketing, while utilizing its diverse media assets. Through Team ESPN, ESPN employees and fans work together to make a difference in our world and the communities in which we live. ESPN has funded and volunteered for numerous projects in the Bristol community. Team ESPN’s slogan is Fans Helping Fans®. For more information, please visit: www.teamespn.com
Make-A-Wish Minnesota grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1982, the Minnesota chapter has granted more than 3,800 wishes to children across the state. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Minnesota, visit www.mn.wish.org or call (612) 767-WISH (9474) and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.