When 14-year-old Cole wished to meet New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, he could never have imagined the many surprises awaiting him.
It all began at The 2012 Make-A-Wish Gala, when the Kraft Family, owners of the New England Patriots, invited Cole to the stage as they were being honored with the 25th Anniversary Wish Hero Award. The surprise multiplied when Gronkowski himself made an unexpected appearance! Gronkowski invited Cole to join him for a day at Gillette Stadium, and Cole went home elated from the thrilling surprise, full of anticipation for his special day with Gronkowski.
When Cole’s wish day arrived, he and his family traveled to Gillette Stadium. Who should sneak into the restaurant to surprise Cole while he and his family were having lunch but Gronkowski! The two chatted and Cole gave his hero a early birthday card before heading to Robert Kraft’s office for a visit. Only a day earlier, Cole had received great news from doctor, which he shared with Mr. Kraft and Gronkowski: after nine months of grueling treatment for sarcoma, he is cancer-free! Mr. Kraft offered Cole a celebratory high-five – just one of many moments Cole will treasure from his wish.
With video from the Make-A-Wish Gala of Cole and Gronkowski playing on the jumbotron, the teenager and the football star headed through the player’s tunnel. Over the loudspeakers, the roaring cheers of the Gala audience filled the stadium as Cole emerged onto the field. He and Gronkowski enjoyed a game of catch and practiced spiking the ball – the Patriots player’s signature move. Gronkowski then brought Cole to the visiting team’s locker room, where a locker full of Patriots memorabilia and a Patriots jersey awaited him.
As Gronkowski autographed the items, Cole decided he would leave the star player with a memento of his own. Removing the nameplate from above his locker, he signed it and presented it to Gronkowski. Empowered and uplifted by his Make-A-Wish experience, Cole’s wish was clearly a game-changing touchdown for him!