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ESPN Deportes’ new ‘Mi Deseo’ segments grant sports wishes involving Tom Brady, Matt Kemp, Roger Federer and soccer’s River Plate

(L-R) Ricardo Jiménez, baseball player Matt Kemp and Ricky Jiménez (Courtesy of Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)
(L-R) Ricardo Jiménez, baseball player Matt Kemp and Ricky Jiménez (Courtesy of Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Editor’s note: ESPN celebrates 25 years of Hispanic Heritage Month by highlighting the contributions of Latinos in sports. For coverage in English from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, click here. For coverage in Spanish, visit ESPNdeportes.com.

For the second year in a row, as part of ESPN’s celebrations surroundingHispanic Heritage Month, ESPN Deportes brings us “Mi Deseo,” on ESPN Deportes, ESPN and ESPNDeportes.com. This four-part series, produced in partnership with the Make-A-Wishfoundation and supervised by coordinating producer Ursula Pfeiffer, highlights the stories of Latino kids with life-threatening medical conditions and their sports wisheswith some of the top teams and athletes and, for the first time, a fully International segment, both originating and produced in Argentina.

“Mi Deseo” will debut Sunday, Sept. 15, with tennis ace Roger Federer giving some helpful lessons to 17-year-old Beatriz Tinoco in a segment produced by Tina Cerbone. Pfeiffer produced the segment on 11-year-old Arturo Robledo, while Lizette Castaneda worked on the other two “deseos.” Pfeiffer and Castaneda share their perspectives on working on the series:

How is this season’s “Mi Deseo” series different from its 2012 debut?

Pfeiffer: This season we have expanded the number of stories produced specifically for the Mi Deseo series and will include versions in both English and Spanish. We also worked closely with Make-A-Wish International, in particular Make-A-Wish Argentina, to produce our first fully International segment, both originating and produced in Latin America. All of this allows us to reach more fans and serve them better and in different languages.

How was it working on the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Dodgers segments?

Castaneda: Working with the Patriots was great. They are truly a first class organization. Every detail was well thought out and everyone in the organization, including team owner Robert Kraft and his family[team owners], was involved. Tom Brady was really good with 18-year-old wish recipient Eduardo [Martinez] and made sure his experience was one of a kind. The Dodgers went above and beyond to make Ricky [Jiménez’s] wish an unforgettable one. From the coordinating to the execution, the organizationinvested time and care into this wish. Outfielder Matt Kemp even promised 16-year-old Ricky World Series tickets if they make it.

Are there any great behind the scenes stories we can share with our readers?

Castaneda: Eddie, as he is known, wasn’t aware he would be running a play during practice, and the only shoes he packed were flip-flops. His family joked with him and gave him a hard time about it throughout the trip. Also, Patriots owner Robert Kraft invited Eddie and his family to his suite for the preseason game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Dodgers players clowned around with Ricky and made fun of him for picking Matt [Kemp] as his favorite player. By the time the wish was over, Ricky received so many gifts that some of them had to be shipped to him.

What behind-the-scenes stories can you share about producing the segment with Club Atlético River Plate?

Pfeiffer: We decided to give Arturo Robledo, 11, an official letter from the team and have him read it out loud. Arturo was taught to read by his grandmother so we thought it would be a nice touch to have him show us how well she taught him. He did it eagerly. . . completely unaware of what was to come.By the time he reached the end of the page, he looked up and was full of doubt. His mom asked him if he was excited. He just said, “Is this for real? I thought you were poking fun at me.” Then he paused, buried his face into his hands and without looking at us said, “I have to go to the kitchen to wash my face.” He hurried to the sink to wipe away his tears. I think we were all got emotional. Witnessing moments like these, and helping them come to fruition make you love your work.

Editor’s note: To see a post regarding the SportsCenter My Wish series that aired in August, click here.

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