Fourteen-year-old Elijah had an innate gift to play the sport he loved more then anything in this world: soccer. When Make-A-Wish contacted Elijah to ask him what his wish would be, Elijah responded without hesitation, “I wish to meet the US Women’s National Soccer Team.”
Elijah’s mother, Alisha, remembers the morning of the diagnosis all too well: “There was an ongoing flow of emotions from fear, sadness, helplessness, and then to fight mode.” The first thing Elijah asked his parents after they explained to him what was happening was, “Can I still play soccer?”
Upon finding out his wish was going to be granted, Elijah could not stop jumping for joy! This was a sight that brought great happiness to Elijah’s family, who had already seen him battle through so much. Wish Day finally arrived, and one of the greatest blessings for Elijah was that his cousin, Zeek, was able to go with him. Zeek had been a rock for Elijah to lean on throughout his entire battle, and Elijah could not wait to share this exciting experience with him.
The US Women’s National Soccer team went above and beyond to ensure Elijah had a day he will never forget. The team presented Elijah with his own jersey that included his name and own number on it. They also signed everything Elijah brought, including his most prized possession - his cleats. It was an incredible sight watching Elijah kick the ball around with his heroes on the field he had always dreamed of playing on. After many hugs and photos, Elijah actually surprised the girls with a gift of his own - handmade bracelets. The women of the US National Soccer team were thrilled to put them on and immediately show their support for their newest teammate.
Alisha explained that Elijah had an excellent attitude towards his treatment from the beginning, but after while she noted, “You could tell he started to get tired.” The family believes his wish gave Elijah the extra fight he needed. They also believe the wish helped him to realize that perseverance and determination would lead him down the path to recovery and enable him to play the sport he loves again.
Elijah and his family are very thankful for the blessing Make-A-Wish provided for them. The one thing they wish they could tell people about the organization is: “It is really important for a child to know that there are good people in the world that will lend a helping hand to a child in need and make them happy too. It makes their fight easier - knowing people care - and it helps motivate them.”