Five children’s wishes will feature athletes Marion Barber, Jimmy Rollins, Tony Hawk, Chris Paul and David Wright
The 2009 edition of SportsCenter’s “My Wish” series will debut Sunday, July 5 during the 10 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship news and information program. The series will continue Monday – Thursday featuring a new wish each day during the 6 p.m. ET edition of the program. Wishes include athletes Marion Barber NFL Pro Bowl running back for the Dallas Cowboys (Sunday), Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (Monday), pro skateboarder Tony Hawk (Tuesday), New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul (Wednesday) and New York Mets third baseman David Wright (Thursday). Emmy Award-winning reporter Chris Connelly will again host. The series, a collaborative effort between the Make-A-Wish Foundation, ESPN SportsCenter and The Walt Disney Company, profiles the experiences of young children with life-threatening medical conditions as their unique sports-related wishes are being granted by the star athletes of their choosing. Highlights of the youngsters and their wishes:
Sunday, July 5: Marion Barber, to view images click here
Ian Gregory, Age – 6; Hometown – Canyon, Texas; Condition – T-cell lymphoma
Wish: To meet Marion Barber of the Dallas Cowboys (wish was granted on June 17)
The Cowboys welcomed Ian to minicamp where he was greeted by Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, shown the team’s five Super Bowl trophies, toured the locker room, rode the team bus to practice with Barber, took part in drills with the running backs and joined coach Wade Phillips to break the team huddle at the end of practice.
Shane Gregory, Ian’s father: “It’s been about five hours, and it seems like it’s been five of the greatest days of our lives. I want to thank the people with the Cowboys and Make-A-Wish for making this such a special day for Ian.”
Monday, July 6: Jimmy Rollins, to view images click here
Shaquille Jacobs – Age – 17 (turned 18 in April); Hometown – Greensboro, N.C.; Condition – acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Wish: To meet and play catch with Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (wish was granted on March 1)
The wish was granted at Disney’s Wide World of Sports® Champion Stadium®. Shaquille was presented with a personalized jersey by Rollins in the Phillies dugout, and dressed in full uniform with the team. He joined the Phillies for pregame warm-ups – playing catch with Rollins, stretching with the team and taking batting practice. He hit a couple of rounds with Rollins’ bat, which Rollins gave him after they were done. Shaquille then joined the Phillies in the dugout for the game against the Atlanta Braves. Jacobs plans to attend North Carolina A&T, majoring in chemical engineering and will try out as a walk on for the baseball team.
Jacobs on his day with Rollins: “My favorite part was to be on the field with Jimmy, playing catch, stretching, racing with him and taking batting practice. They all treated me like I was one of the guys.”
Tuesday, July 7: Tony Hawk, to view images click here
Jamarkus Poole – Age – 12; Hometown – Tampa, Fla.; Condition – cystic fibrosis
Wish: To meet Tony Hawk (wish was granted on June 24)
Tony Hawk and six other pro skateboarders put on a high-flying exhibition for Jamarkus and his family in the private skatepark at Hawk’s San Diego-area headquarters. Jamarkus then had his own chance to skate with Tony on the ramps. They then enjoyed a pizza lunch, and played video games, where Jamarkus showed Hawk some of his own board tricks on the yet-to-be-released video game “Tony Hawk Ride.”
From Angel Shakleford, Jamarkus’ mom: “Jamarkus really isn’t an emotional guy and he’s kind of shy, but he really opened up with Tony during the wish. It really was a special day for him and our family.”
Wednesday, July 8: Chris Paul, to view images click here
Cole Johanson – Age – 10; Hometown – Portland, Ore.; condition – Burkitt’s lymphoma
Wish: To meet Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets (wish was granted on June 23)
Cole traveled to Chris Paul’s hometown of Winston-Salem, N.C., where Paul took him to see his childhood home, shoot hoops and play HORSE in the gym at West Forsyth High (Paul’s alma mater). They then ate lunch at Cole’s favorite restaurant, the Olive Garden.
Cole Johanson: “It’s amazing how cancer was the worst thing that ever happened to me, but the day I met Chris Paul was the best day of my life.”
Thursday, July 9: David Wright, to view images click here
Matthew Vojack – Age – 6; Hometown – South Barrington, Ill.; Condition – congenital heart defect TAPVR
Wish: To meet David Wright of the New York Mets (wish was granted on June 30)
Matthew’s wish was revealed with a surprise visit from Mets mascot Mr. Met at the family’s home in Illinois. Matthew then traveled to Milwaukee to play catch with Wright, meet several of Wright’s Mets teammates, and watch the Mets take on the Brewers at Miller Park. Matthew also met Bernie Brewer and held the finish-line tape for the Brewers’ Sausage Race.
From Debbie Vojack, Matthew’s Mom: “This wish meant the world to me. Being able to watch Matt interact with David was amazing. Matt loves baseball and being able to play with his favorite player was incredible. It was the experience of a lifetime.”
ESPN.com will offer additional and complementary content related to the five wish-granting experiences.
About the Make-A-Wish Foundation
The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Founded in 1980 when a group of caring volunteers helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 65 chapters in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish every 40 minutes and has granted more than 177,000 wishes in the United States since its inception. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.
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. Team ESPN… Fans Helping Fans. www.teamespn.com
About Disney Wishes
The Walt Disney Company works globally with children’s wish-granting organizations around the world to make Disney wishes come true fulfilling over 7,000 wishes annually for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Disney-themed wishes continue to be the most popular requests, including visits to Disney Parks, Disney Cruises, meeting Disney Characters, attending sporting events and visiting TV and movie sets. For more information on Disney’s outreach efforts, please visit www.DisneyOutreach.com
— 30 —