Nick steps out onto the field and is awestruck. He takes in the immense Mercedes-Benz Super-dome. Soon, the quiet space will be roaring with 70,000 football fans. For now, it belongs to Nick.
The 16-year-old feels a surge of energy and begins running – running for joy and running to move beyond a year of medical challenges. He goes the entire length of the field. It’s the first time Nick has run since concluding treatment and it feels amazing! It’s just one of many favorite moments for the teenager, who wished to go to the Super Bowl.
Nick was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of preleukemia, in 2011 and his active life was suddenly put on hold. A bone marrow transplant followed by 11 months of isolation required him to miss an entire year of high school. This was particularly difficult for Nick, who is social and involved in many school activities. Perhaps the hardest aspect for the athletic teen was giving up sports.
Nick’s wish brought him and his family to New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII. Music was everywhere as Nick spent the weekend trying new foods and exploring the city. He and his family were given a tour of the Superdome, during which Nick played catch with football star Chris Draft. They attended the NFL Experience, an interactive theme park, where Nick even met several NFL players!
And of course, Nick and his family were in the thick of things on Super Bowl Sunday. They cheered loudly for the San Francisco 49ers from their seats amidst a sea of spectators. “Nick’s wish was a healing time, enabling us to focus on having fun, trying new things, and meeting new people together,” says his mom, Mandy. “It was truly a celebration of his health.”
Nick couldn’t agree more. “This was the greatest experience ever!”