ARLINGTON, Va. – Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin along with NBA MVP LeBron James, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles wide-receiver DeSean Jackson, NASCAR’s Kyle Busch and 2011 U.S. Open winner Rory McIlroy will be featured in sports-themed wishes granted through Make-A-Wish on ESPN’s seventh annual SportsCenter “My Wish” series. Each wish will be the subject of a SportsCenter feature segment (the first on Sunday’s 10 a.m. ET SportsCenter, the others debuting on each weekday’s 3 p.m. SportsCenter, culminating on Friday, July 20).
The summer series, which raises its total of granted wishes to 41 this month, shows Wishes coming true in the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Each segment will give viewers an in-depth and often emotional story, starting with how the wish is revealed to how the child interacts with his/her favorite athlete.
Ovechkin spent two days with Sam Jacobson, 16, including after a Capitals practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Wednesday, March 7. Jacobson who played on his high school hockey team despite recovering from lymphoma, had his most heartfelt wish come true as he met his hockey idol Ovechkin and skated with him after practice on March 7, 2012, through the Make-A-Wish®. Sam began the day by taking a tour of the practice facility and Caps’ locker room. Inside the players’ locker room, he had his own stall, stocked with hockey equipment donated by Bauer. After he suited up, he ended the day by skating with Ovechkin, Karl Alzner, Jason Chimera and other players following their practice. In addition, Sam attended two Capitals home games and spent some time with Ovechkin following the games in the Capitals locker room.
SportsCenter (Sunday-Friday, ESPN)
Six marquee athletes from five professional sports will be featured in sports-themed wishes granted through Make-A-Wish® on ESPN’s SportsCenter “My Wish” series. Emmy Award-winning reporter Chris Connelly, who has hosted all six “My Wish” series, will reprise his role in 2012. The schedule:
Sunday: LeBron James with 17 year-old Thiago D’Elia from Peachtree City, Ga., an avid basketball fan and cancer survivor. He met his favorite team -- the Miami Heat -- and his favorite player, LeBron.
Monday: Kyle Busch with eight-year old Kyle Felver from Stanwood, Wash., a quarter-midget car racer before becoming wheelchair-bound with a progressive neurological disorder. He got to meet Busch at the Sprint All-Star race.
Tuesday: DeSean Jackson with 10-year old Donovan Troy from Atlanta, who has been dealing with sickle cell anemia but has not lost his love of sports. He spent the day at Eagles practice, then recorded a rap song with Jackson at a Philadelphia studio.
Wednesday: Rory McIlroy with 13 year-old Tucker Dupont from Waconia, Minn., who has had three open heart surgeries. He can no longer compete in contact sports, but plays golf and got to spend a day with his favorite golfer and hero.
Thursday: Alexander Ovechkin with 16 year-old Sam Jacobson from Boise, Idaho, who plays on his high school hockey team despite recovering from lymphoma. He got to skate with his hero, Ovechkin, and ride an Olympia at a Capitals game.
Friday: Mark Sanchez with 13-year old Jesus Reyes from Beulaville, N.C., who beat leukemia. He got to meet his hero, attend a Jets game, and sign a “contract” with the team as honorary member for the day.
View the SportsCenter My Wish Video Promo Here
View Photos of the 2012 SportsCenter My Wish Series Here
Make-A-Wish® grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. According to a 2011 U.S. study of wish impact, most health professionals surveyed believe a wish-come-true can have positive impacts on the health of children. Kids say wishes give them renewed strength to fight their illnesses, and their parents say these experiences help strengthen the entire family. Based in Phoenix, Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, serving children in every community in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and more than 25,000 volunteers, Make-A-Wish grants a wish somewhere in the country every 38 minutes. It has granted more than 212,000 wishes since its inception in 1980, nearly 14,000 in 2011 alone. Visit Make-A-Wish at wish.org and discover how you can share the power of a wish®.
Team ESPN encompasses ESPN’s multi-faceted corporate outreach initiatives, including volunteerism, corporate giving and cause marketing, while utilizing its diverse media assets. Through Team ESPN, ESPN employees and fans work together to make a difference in our world and the communities in which we live. ESPN has funded and volunteered for numerous projects in the Bristol community. Team ESPN’s slogan is Fans Helping Fans®. For more information, please visit: www.teamespn.com