Behind The ScenesSportsCenter

#MyWish subject, Packers fan, reaches out to support ESPN producer’s battle with breast cancer

Since 2009, Miriam Greenfield has seen a lot during her time in working as a producer for the “My Wish” series, an ESPN collaboration with the Make-A-Wish foundation.

In her role, Greenfield has witnessed the lows, and many incredible highs, of the series fulfilling the sports-related wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

But last year, Greenfield’s journey with the series came full circle.

. . . God only hands battles to his toughest soldiers and will never give you one that you can’t conquer.
– “My Wish” recipient Anna Schmidt, in a portion of a text she sent to ESPN producer Miriam Greenfield

Greenfield, who is in her 22nd year with ESPN, was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was Anna Schmidt, a wish recipient from August 2010, who was able to provide the exact comfort necessary.

Greenfield met Schmidt in 2010, just months after the girl’s heart transplant. Schmidt, a Wisconsin native, wished to meet the Green Bay Packers.

Greenfield recalls the then 13-year-old Packers fan as smart, bubbly, outgoing and especially perceptive.

The two reconnected in June 2016 in order to update Anna’s story for the 10th anniversary of the “My Wish” series (see video below).

Just one week later, Greenfield received her cancer diagnosis.

When she wrote about it on Facebook, Schmidt reached out to her personally with words of support.

“Miriam, take it one day at a time – it’s exhausting and ruthless and it’s 120% OK to fall apart as long as you remember that you must get back up. . . Remember, God only hands battles to his toughest soldiers and will never give you one that you can’t conquer,” the text read.

Though a text might seem simple, Schmidt’s words had a profound impact on Greenfield.

It was really Anna’s text that kind of validated it all because it was exactly what I was feeling and what I needed at the time. It was somebody who truly, truly understood.
– Greenfield on receiving Schmidt’s text

“I was going through all sorts of emotions and sadness and I really just couldn’t grasp it all – I kept saying ‘Why is this happening to me? I don’t understand,’” Greenfield said. “It was really Anna’s text that kind of validated it all because it was exactly what I was feeling and what I needed at the time. It was somebody who truly, truly understood.”

Today, there is “no evidence of disease,” Greenfield said in regards to her condition.

The text is something Greenfield not only returns to, but she also shares it with others who are in need of encouragement.

Lydelle King, senior managing producer in the ESPN Features Unit, said that on a surface level, working with the “My Wish” series is a job.

But it can turn into so much more.

“She [Greenfield] made a connection, because we all know, when you get in the room with one of these young people and you live this experience with them, you can’t help but to connect,” King said. “And that connection goes both ways.”

2017 'My Wish' special airing twice Sunday

A 60-minute SportsCenter“My Wish” special, showcasing a compilation of the 2017 features, will air Sunday, July 23 on ESPN2 (11 a.m. ET, re-airing 10 p.m.) Chris Connelly will host. Watch a trailer above featuring highlights from all four features. Go behind the scenes with the My Wish subjects with ESPN’s Jen Lada in this ESPN Audio podcast.
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