Will is a charismatic 18-year-old from Bloomingdale who loves sports more than anything else –especially basketball. He’s been a Chicago Bulls fan for 12 years and has always wanted to know what it would be like to play for them. He’s always had his eyes set on the court, and his dream finally became a reality.
"It was the first thing on my mind and it never really left my mind,” Will said. “I’m a big basketball guy and my hometown team was really good so it was just easy to gravitate towards them.”
Will was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2009 and was referred to Make-A-Wish in August of last year by Lurie Children's Hospital Social Worker Angela Berger, who was recently recognized for referring 20 children to Make-A-Wish since 2012.
Upon hearing he qualified for a wish, Will was surprised. He’d known about the organization for nearly 10 years but didn’t know he could get a wish.
“I didn’t think I initially qualified but apparently there was little more to it that I didn’t know,” he said. “So when I found out that I qualified for a wish I was pretty excited.”
Will wasted no time in picking his wish: to be a Chicago Bull for a day.
He was picked up by a limo and driven to the Bull’s morning practice, signed his one day contract, had lunch at Dave & Buster’s, and then sat courtside for the big game.
His day as a Bull also included getting his own name-plated locker at the United Center and playing a game of horse with players Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen.
“I went to their pre-game practice in the morning and I got to meet all the players and just shoot around for a little bit,” Will said. “And then Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen came over and were like, ‘You want to play some horse?’ and I’m like ‘I mean if you’re asking me to I’m not going to say no.’”
Being around the team inspired him to stay determined and work for anything he wanted in life.
“Getting around those guys gave me the motivation that if I really want to accomplish anything I have to work hard at it no matter what,” Will said.
Will won’t forget his day as a Chicago Bull because he describes it as “more than I ever could’ve imagined.”
“They made sure I had a smile on my face and that it didn’t fall off the whole day,” he said.
Will’s mom, dad, and sister, were there with him on his big day.
His mom Adrianne said she appreciated how the day was truly a family affair and that they didn’t have to plan anything.
She could tell the wish took a lot of care. She said the feeling of having an entire day of fun and not being mentally exhausted was indescribable.
“Will got to feel like someone he’s dreamt of being,” she said. “Kids really need a day to feel on top of the world.”