Without knowing the event was tied to Make-A-Wish, you would have never guessed that the children in attendance were any more, or less, than average. You see, many of the wish kids are now leading healthy lives, remembering fondly what helped them through their healing processes, while others are still in the battle of fighting life-threatening diseases. Whatever their story, Husker athletes joined the wish kids and their families Saturday night to celebrate the gift of life.
The celebration included kids whose wishes have been granted in the past ten years, their families, and Husker athletes from the sports of women's basketball, football, men's golf, men's gymnastics, women's gymnastics, track and field, and wrestling. The event may not have included celebrities such as Mickey Mouse and Barack Obama from past wishes, but there were some guest appearances from Pirates, Rock Stars and Vikings.
In between freeze dancing and catching Oreos in his mouth, Husker wrestler Caleb Kolb stated, "It is inspiring to see these kids overcome adversity and challenges in their lives. As athletes, it gives us perspective, showing us that these kids are far greater competitors than we'll ever be."
Husker track athlete, Devandrew Johnson reversed the roles by asking the kids to autograph the back of his shirt. He wanted them to realize they are just as important as he is, and even plans to showcase the shirt at an upcoming track meet. To Devandrew, their struggles signify much more than their will to keep pushing, and will motivate him as he continues to compete at Nebraska.
The Wish Family Party brought families in similar, yet strikingly different circumstances together. For those families still fighting it provided them an escape from their medical struggles and served as one of the few bright spots in an otherwise grueling time. For the families who overcame their adversities, this was an opportunity to spread words of hope and encouragement, knowing all too well what the others are going through. It was a night for normal kids, with no problems or worries. It was a night for student-athletes to be humbled by such an experience. It was a night to be celebrated.