My WishSportsCenter

ESPN “My Wish” series resonates with Make-A-Wish Foundation

“My Wish” recipient Mackenzie Toman  with USWNT members Alex Morgan and Allie Long. (Steve Buckheit/ESPN)
“My Wish” recipient Mackenzie Toman meets with USWNT members Alex Morgan (center) and Allie Long (right). (Steve Buckheit/ESPN)

The 10th anniversary season of the award-winning ESPN “My Wish” Series launched Sunday night on SportsCenter with four new sports-themed wishes fulfilled for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Lorie Hennessey (photo courtesy Make-A-Wish)
Lorie Hennessey
(Photo courtesy Make-A-Wish)

Lorie Hennessey, director, Entertainment & Sports Relations, Make-A-Wish America, discussed the series with Front Row:

What is your relationship with the ESPN “My Wish” Series?
I’ve worked closely with the ESPN “My Wish” series since its inception. My team member Shaina Reeser, who has been our main point person for the past several years, and I have watched so many stories unfold. We’ve been watching the perspectives of wish parents and wish children about their journey and the culmination of a day that is their wish and seeing firsthand the impact it has on everyone around including producers, interviewer extraordinaire, Chris Connelly, and Make-A-Wish staff.

What strikes you most about the wishes?
Every story is so different with so many different layers of complexity, but it’s amazing to see the genuineness of people and love for sports that bring two groups together. Sports fans are like no other but Make-A-Wish kids who are sports fans rise above even further. The knowledge they have in stats, names and historical facts that took place far before they were born blows me away each and every time. You can see the love of the sport in their eyes and in every reaction. And from afar, you see their parents with eyes big but smiles bigger watching their child shine in a moment removing previous clouds that may have darkened their day.

Where are they now?

For these wish recipients, My Wish created a sense of empowerment and hope for the future, and an engagement with life outside hospital rooms. Read about them in this My Wish 10th anniversary feature on espn.com.

What do you think has been the impact of the ESPN “My Wish” Series?
These stories, through the “My Wish” series, show the impact of a wish on that day but I can tell that the impact goes on far longer after their wish takes place and is different for each child, and frankly for all those who are directly involved in the wish. We work with amazing kids, whose resilience and strength are immeasurable. We also work with an amazing ESPN group that is right by our side telling phenomenal stories and I am sure feeling what we feel as a staff: a sense of knowing that wishes truly make a difference in these children’s lives in a way that might not be scientifically proven but spiritually so. I am incredibly humbled to be part of this project.

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