Behind The ScenesSportsCenter

SportsCenter’s “My Wish” producers get inspired through storytelling

The 2017 ESPN “My Wish” Series on SportsCenter continues tonight (ESPN, 11 p.m. ET) as the Los Angeles Dodgers grant the wish of 11-year-old Lazaro “Ziggy” Monarrez of El Paso to manage the team for a day. Ziggy lives with spinal muscular atrophy and restricted lung disease.

In its 12th season, the “My Wish” Series has fulfilled more than 60 sports-themed wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Working together with Make-A-Wish, ESPN produces feature segments on the wishes for airing on SportsCenter.

Front Row asked the producers of the four “My Wish” features for 2017 about working on the series:

Kris Schwartz produced the feature with Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys QB, meeting nine-year-old Raymond Melgarejo who lives with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis:

“I’ve been very fortunate to be involved in ‘My Wish’ in some way since 2010, and each year, I feel it’s the most satisfying opportunity we have as producers. Reporter Chris Connelly and the Make-A-Wish staff we coordinate with all around the country are simply phenomenal. The athletes, their teammates and organizations are so generous and give these courageous children and families the experience of a lifetime. It’s especially joyful to see when the kids and the athletes maintain relationships.”

Lauren Stowell produced the feature with NASCAR star Danica Patrick meeting 18-year-old Gabby Jahn, who has a progressive neurological disorder:

“I think it’s probably one of the more rewarding experiences that I have each year. I look forward to each summer just knowing that I’m going to be able to have the experience and meet these families. And being able to work with Chris Connelly the past six years in this series has been an incredible experience that has made me a better producer but also has been fulfilling personally.”

Dominique Goodridge produced tonight’s feature with the Dodgers:

“The stories in the ‘My Wish’ series are some of my favorite features I get to produce. I am always inspired by the children and their families. I appreciate the responsibility of sharing these stories, knowing that they help to increase awareness of the great work that Make-A-Wish does as well.”

Dale Mauldin, first-time “My Wish” producer, on Wednesday night’s feature with Jalan Sowell, 16, who has chronic pulmonary embolism and wanted to produce and be the subject of an inspirational ESPN feature:

“I’ve edited a lot of these ‘My Wishes’. It’s always great to see and go through the experience with them in the editing room after everything is done but I never got the sense of meeting these kids and how they are until now. These kids are just great – their attitude is amazing and for kids to go through so much at such a young age, they mature very fast.”

Molly Mita contributed to this post.
Tomorrow: The producers recall their most memorable moments from this year’s “My Wish” series.

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