St. Louis Wish Kids Ben and Joe were given the opportunity of a lifetime on May 23rd when two of the most storied clubs in the English Premier League held a soccer match at Busch Stadium. The boys were welcomed as “mascots” and given a pregame “kit” which included soccer shorts, team jersey and socks. They then met the players and were included in the games’ opening ceremony.
Event sponsor Etihad Airways and Manchester City contacted Make-A-Wish® Missouri prior to the event asking for the opportunity to include two wish kids and their parents in this historic event. This was the first non-baseball sporting event hosted by Busch Stadium and led to record attendance with 48,263 showing up to watch the match.
Etihad Airways has been Manchester City Football Club’s main club partner since May, 2009. During that time the club has enjoyed considerable success with an FA Cup win in 2011 and the Barclays Premier League victory in season 2011-12.
“We are so thankful to Etihad Airways and Manchester City, for including Make-A-Wish® at this unprecedented soccer match in St. Louis. Our wish kids were ecstatic at the opportunity to not only watch the game but also be a part of it.” said LuAnn Bott, President& CEO of Make-A-Wish® Missouri.
Make-A-Wish® selected Ben and Joe, who are both battling cancer and waiting for their wishes to be granted. 9 year old Ben wishes to go the Winter Olympics and Joe, who is 12, will go on his wish to Hawaii in 2014. Make-A-Wish® knew the surprise opportunity would be relished by the boys
“On behalf of our son Ben, we would like to thank Etihad Airways and Manchester City for working with Make-A-Wish®Missouri to provide the opportunity for Ben to be a mascot at the game in St. Louis. He had a great time and knew what an honor it was!The atmosphere was fantastic and Ben couldn’t believe Manchester City came back to win. He absolutely loved the kit and didn’t want to take it off…he slept in the shorts that night!” said Ben's dad.