2010 SportsCenter ‘My Wish’ Series Debuts July 18 at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN
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July 15, 2010
Five children’s wishes will feature athletes Dale Earnhardt Jr., Albert Pujols, LaDainian Tomlinson, Travis Pastrana and the Oakland Raiders
The 2010 edition of the critically acclaimed SportsCenter’s “My Wish” series in collaboration with the Make-A-Wish Foundation® will debut Sunday, July 18 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 three-time Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders (Sunday, July 18), NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Monday, July 19), three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals (Tuesday, July 20), supercross and motocross extreme athlete Travis Pastrana (Wednesday, July 21), and New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson (Thursday, July 22). Emmy Award-winning reporter Chris Connelly will host for the fifth straight year, as ESPN chronicles sports-themed wishes granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to children with life-threatening medical conditions.
My Wish Video Previews
Highlights of the youngsters and their wishes:
SUNDAY, JULY 18: OAKLAND RAIDERS, to view images click here
Jailen Cooper, Age – 10; Hometown – Farmville, N.C..; Condition – pituitary germinoma
Wish: To meet the Oakland Raiders NFL team (wish was granted on May 26)
Jailen’s wish started when he received a phone call from Raiders head coach Tom Cable inviting him to spend the day with the team. Jailen’s day included holding one of the Raiders’ Super Bowl trophies, touring team headquarters with All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, getting his own locker in the team locker room, tackling running back Darren McFadden at the end of practice and joining Cable for his post-practice press conference.
Cooper’s mother, Jessie, on his wish with the Raiders: “I wasn’t expecting everything that the Raiders did for Jailen. The locker was amazing, and everything he got to do on the field, it’s not something that he’s ever going to forget.”
MONDAY, JULY 19: DALE EARNHARDT JR., to view images click here
Jeffrey Buzzell, Age – 15; Hometown – Hermon, Maine; Condition – Alport syndrome
Wish: To meet Dale Earnhardt Jr. and learn about the inner-workings of a NASCAR team (wish was granted May 20-22)
The wish was granted during the NASCAR All-Star weekend in Charlotte, N.C. On Thursday, Jeffrey and his family were given a tour of JR Motorsports, a 66,000-square-foot facility that serves as the nucleus of Earnhardt Jr.’s racing operation and business interests. Afterwards, they went to Dale’s home and raced go-karts on his private go-kart track. On Saturday, before the race, Jeffrey took a tour of the garage and pit area, took part in driver introductions and watched Earnhardt and the other NASCAR drivers battle it out at Charlotte Motor Speedway from the Joe Gibbs suite.
Buzzell on his wish with Dale Earnhardt Jr.: “A few seconds after getting out of the limo, I saw Dale come out of his garage and walk towards me. I didn’t know what to do or think. All I remember was putting one hand on my chest and shaking his with the other. I had the time of my life and I will never forget my amazing trip or the amazing people I met.”
TUESDAY, JULY 20: ALBERT PUJOLS, to view images click here
Jacob Trammell, Age – 15; Hometown – Willard, Mo.; Condition – marginal-zone lymphoma
Wish: To meet Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals (wish was granted on May 18)
Jacob and his family started their day with a tour of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, before being escorted by mascot Fredbird to Busch Stadium. At the stadium, he was greeted by Pujols, given a tour of the locker room and introduced to players and coaches, received tips from Pujols during a pregame batting session on the field, and watched Pujols and the team play against the Washington Nationals that night.
Trammell on his wish with Pujols and the Cardinals: “It was a lifetime experience. I don’t think there are words to describe it. My face was hurting the next day from smiling so much!”
WEDNESDAY, JULY 21: TRAVIS PASTRANA, to view images click here
Brett Lisikatos, Age – 16; Hometown – Wappingers Falls, N.Y.; Condition – Rhabdomyosarcoma
Wish: To meet motocross and supercross extreme athlete Travis Pastrana (wish was granted on July 9)
On Brett’s birthday (July 9), he and his family traveled to Baltimore, where they started their trip at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.. Brett was under the impression that he and his family were being filmed for a military special on ABC, until the end of the tour when Brett received a package revealing the true meaning of the trip, including a note from Pastrana inviting him to spend the afternoon at his home. The rest of the afternoon included a tour of Pastrana’s shop, a quad ride through the woods, taking the quad into the foam pit and a memorable birthday cake celebration.
Lisikatos on his wish with Pastrana: “Riding with him was amazing. It was definitely the best day of my life. I’ll remember it for a long time.”
THURSDAY, JULY 22: LADAINIAN TOMLINSON, to view images click here
LaJerrick Keyes, Age – 9; Hometown – Indiantown, Fla.; Condition – congenital heart disease
Wish: To meet LaDainian Tomlinson of the New York Jets (wish was granted on June 15)
Keyes and his family traveled to New Jersey, where they spent the day with Tomlinson and the Jets at the team’s training facility. The day began with LaJerrick being escorted to his own personal locker, where he met Tomlinson. He then watched and participated in the team practice with head coach Rex Ryan, got autographs from the players, played catch on the field with Tomlinson and even played video games with LT in the lounge.
Keyes’ mother, Stephanie Porter-King, on his wish with the LT and the Jets: “It was like Christmas in July! I was so overwhelmed that LaJerrick got to live one day as a normal child.”
ESPN.com will offer additional and complementary content related to the five wish-granting experiences. Visit www.espnmediazone.com for ESPN’s latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos, video and audio clips and more.
About the Make-A-Wish Foundation
Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2010, 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. 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 193,000 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 multifaceted 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’s slogan is “Fans Helping Fans.”® www.teamespn.com.