The series has been pulling on heart strings for 12 years now.
For the past eleven consecutive years, ESPN and Make-A-Wish America have partnered together to make the dreams of many Make-A-Wish America children come true.
The Make-A-Wish foundation helps to grant wishes to children with life-threatening conditions. The experience not only is wonderful for the kids, but it has also been medically proven to help the children heal.
This year will be the 12th consecutive year of the partnership that uses sports as a platform to change the lives of countless kids.
There is something intangible about partnerships that pull at consumer heartstrings in the sports business world. There is a reason leagues have capitalized on giving back, because not only is it important to pay it forward, but consumers really buy into the initiatives.
We have seen leagues create initiatives such as “NFL Play 60″ and “NBA Cares”. These sort of outreach initiatives allow the athletes and organizations to have an opportunity to give back to their communities — at the end of the day that is really what it is all about.
Relating to your fans on a personal level is vital to an organization’s success. When your fans see you working with community members and those in need simply because you can, that builds trust between consumers and your organization. And what good is any relationship without trust?
Initiatives and partnerships that give back are also rewarding for employees. It is a refreshing project that reminds all in the organization exactly what the organization is working for — it provides a sense that you are working for something so much bigger than you.
The series shows a different side of athletes and organization employees to the public. It shows a more genuine, personal side of these individuals that consumers do not normally get. It allows them to relate.
Lorie Hennessey, The Director of Entertainment and Sports Relations for Make-A-Wish America, explains this idea.
“Sports fans are like no other but Make-A-Wish kids who are sports fans rise above even further…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 days.”
Every sport fan has endured their own bit of stormy weather, and some part of sports has allowed them to weather that storm. The series is relatable for any consumer, athlete, and professional alike. The series is also beyond humbling, and allows viewers to broaden their perspective on how fortunate they truly are.
This year, ESPN and Make-A-Wish continued the partnership with “My Wish” once again. The series allows for all involved to be humbled, and it resonates much further than for those directly involved. The network aired the My Wish series from Sunday, July 16th to Wednesday, July 19th. The network closed with airing a compilation of many different wishes granted throughout the past year on Thursday, July 20th.
All of the stories are available for viewing on ESPN’s website for those who missed the original showings.
This year, the personal stories of Ziggy, Ray, Gabrielle, and Jalan can be watched. The program provides viewers with a background of the child’s life, medical condition, and a first-hand view of the wonderful wish granting experience.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Dallas Cowboys, and NASCAR driver, Danica Patrick, are all featured as part of the wish granting task force in this year’s series.
Ziggy, age 11, has spinal muscular atrophy, and his wish is to be the manager of the LA Dodgers. Viewers will get to see Ziggy assist Dodgers Manager, Dave Roberts, as well as meet players and experience a game day with his family.
Ray, age 9, has a hematologic disorder. Ray’s wish is to meet the Dallas Cowboys. Viewers can smile as they see Ray meet all sorts of people in the organization from his hero Dak Prescott to Rowdy, the Cowboys’ mascot.
Gabrielle, age 18, has a progressive neurological condition and her wish is to meet Danica Patrick. Gabrielle gets VIP access to Danica and her team at the Coca Cola 400 during her segment. Not only did Gabrielle get VIP access at the race, but she even got to suit up and ride with Patrick.
Last but not least, Jalan, age 16, has a pulmonary condition. Jalan’s wish is to produce and be the subject of an inspirational ESPN feature — what a better opportunity is there? My Wish showcases Jalan’s dream coming to life as Chris Connelly surprises him with the news that his wish will be featured on ESPN’s “My Wish”. Jalan was able to have the producer experience he always dreamed of, and he is now able to serve as an inspiration to people all over the world.
David Williams, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish America explained, “Recent research has proven that a wish-come-true can not only make children with critical illnesses feel better, but actually get better. The ‘My Wish’ series invites the public to witness sports wishes that will forever change the wish kids and their families, which is truly incredible to see.” I think we can all agree that the opportunity My Wish provides for children is incredible and life changing in every aspect.
We all love sports because it takes us somewhere special, somewhere nothing else in the world can take us. We get to view first hand through the “My Wish” series all of these kids taking a trip to their special place. We are able to see just why the business of sports is so close to the heart for millions of people. The partnership allows for viewers everywhere to take a trip to that special place as well.
Catch up or reflect on this past week to be reminded just why we love sports and the power it holds to ring out our most raw and powerful emotions. Sports has the power to conquer all and to heal those in need.
The “My Wish” series rejuvenates consumers, and provides a platform to feel close to not only the families involved, but to their favorite sport organizations and athletes. The partnership allows these children to make genuine connections with their heroes, and provides the ultimate healing experience through the sports we all know and love.
Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.
Want to learn more, or have a story featured about you or your organization? Contact us today.