One Sunday evening, twelve-year-old Michael developed a random cough. His mom gave him a cold/flu tablet to combat it and was surprised by his body’s reaction. Wish mom, Felecia recalled, “A few seconds after I gave him the tablet, Michael started screaming that he couldn’t breathe.
One Sunday evening, twelve-year-old Michael developed a random cough. His mom gave him a cold/flu tablet to combat it and was surprised by his body’s reaction. Wish mom, Felecia recalled, “A few seconds after I gave him the tablet, Michael started screaming that he couldn’t breathe. I called 911, and they came to check on him. They said it was just an episode, but recommended I take him to his doctor.” At the doctor’s visit, Felecia also noticed Michael had a lump forming on his chest. An x-ray revealed a mass from his lungs and covering his heart. He was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and was admitted to Batson Children’s Hospital. Michael was supposed to be a starter for his 7th grade basketball team, so of course one of the first questions he asked his doctor was “Can I still play basketball?” When the doctor told him no, it devastated him. “Michael has dealt with so much over the last couple of years between chemo treatments, blood transfusions, surgeries, blood clots in his lungs and having his appendix removed, it has been a tough time for all of us. The day he found out that he was going on his wish could not have come at a better time. We were on our way home from a chemo treatment,” said Felecia. While the extensive treatments Michael has battled regularly have reduced his energy levels, his spirit has not lessened. He is a sports enthusiast who loves the game of basketball. To him basketball is a way of life. “When I grow up I want to be a professional basketball player,” said Michael. When Michael was approached by the Make-A-Wish volunteers, the decision about what his wish would be was an easy one. He knew more than anything, he wanted to be a New York City Knick where he could meet his favorite basketball player. Watching the team has helped him get through some tough times over the last year. On November 30th, Michael and his family traveled to New York, where he would be a New York Knick. Michael not only got to meet his favorite players on the team, he also toured the facility and signed a one-day deal with the team. He warmed up with the team on the court before their game against Oklahoma City, and was presented with a new pair of sneakers from one of the Knick players. As an honorary team member, he received personalized orange and blue team gear. It did not stop there—he received some pointers on how to shoot the ball by Coach Jeff Hornacek. He then led the team onto the court, was announced as a player and given courtside seats to watch the game. The highlight of his wish trip was meeting his favorite Knick player and being participating in a private team practice. “When he walked into the practice, the whole team yelled out for him and cheered him on,” recalled Felecia. Thanks to Garden of Dreams Foundation and Make-A-Wish, Michael got to experience his dream by being an honorary Knick for the day at the NYC Knicks game verses Oklahoma City Thunder. His story was featured on People.com. They put together a mock press conference announcing his signing with the Knicks. The smile on Michael’s face says it all… he will never forget this day!