Dreams came true on Saturday as Make-A-Wish Missouri and the Chiefs Community Caring Team, including Dexter McCluster, surprised 10-year-old Independence native, Austin with a trip to the 2014 Pro Bowl.
Austin is currently battling Duschenne Muscular Dystrophy, a progressive muscle degenerating disease. Make-A-Wish Missouri strives to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions in order to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
At the annual Make-A-Wish Missouri KC Walk for Wishes celebration, Austin's favorite player, Dexter McCluster, surprised him with a ticket to Hawaii for the NFL all-star game.
"We are out here today to celebrate our Wish Kids through our Walk for Wishes," Crystal Kennedy, Development Manager at Make-A-Wish Missouri explained. "One of our Wish Kids is Austin. When his wish came in we called the Chiefs and worked with the NFL and we were able to let Austin know that he will be going to the Pro Bowl in 2014. Our special guest, Dexter McCluster, KC Wolf and the Chiefs Cheerleaders came out to let Austin know that he will be going in January."
Joy and excitement were visible through Austin's ear to ear grin when McCluster presented him with a trip of a lifetime.
"This event was incredible," Kennedy commented. "This is why we work so hard and raise the funds that we do, it's to see these children and give them a little bit of joy. It can be a really hard thing when children are sick. These kids are in and out of the hospital and treatments; we get to come to them and say 'What's your wish?' and make it come true. Just to see that joy put back on a child's face, there's nothing like it."
Austin loves sports, hopes to someday become a sports commentator and has dreamt of attending the Pro Bowl. The Chiefs and Make-A-Wish Missouri were set on making his dream become a reality.
"Anytime the Chiefs Community Caring Team hears about an individual like Austin, it puts things into perspective," Chuck Castellano, Chiefs Community Relations Manager noted. "He is such a special child. No 10-year old should have to experience the things that he has. I know that being here meant a lot to Dexter, KC Wolf and the Cheerleaders. We were just happy to join with our friends from Make-A-Wish to ensure his trip to the Pro Bowl could become a reality."
Austin's mother, Valerie, submitted her son's wish through the Muscular Dystrophy Association and was excited to learn about the opportunity for Austin's wish to come true.
"We submitted the wish through the Muscular Dystrophy Association because Austin has Duschenne Muscular Dystrophy and it is a terminal illness, there is no cure for it," Valerie said. "So then they submitted the wish to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for us…and he was granted his wish…he has something to look forward to next January."
Following the presentation, the KC Walk For Wishes began, a walk through the heart of Kansas City which all lead up to a Wish Carnival. The Wish Carnival included bounce houses, face painting, and games for the Wish Kids and their families.
The day ended with yet another wish granted, adding Make-A-Wish Missouri's count of 226,000 since its inception in 1980.
To learn more about Make-A-Wish Missouri or to submit your own wish visit www.mo.wish.org.