PHOENIX, Jan. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Forty years since the founding of the organization in 1980, Make-A-Wish® is making history by granting a record 19 wishes at Super Bowl LIV. The 19 wish kids and their families will fly from 12 different states and Canada to the Sunshine State for the big game. The kids, who are all facing critical illnesses, will experience a life-changing, football-fueled weekend thanks to the generous donations of individuals and corporate supporters, including the National Football League (NFL).
The festivities begin on Thursday, Jan. 30 when the wish families will be treated to a welcome reception at Dave & Buster's – a national sponsor of Make-A-Wish. In the days following, the wish kids will receive a private, behind-the-scenes tour of Hard Rock Stadium, spend time with past and present NFL players, test their football skills at the Super Bowl Experience and get red carpet access to the NFL Honors event. To cap off the wish, the 19 wish kids will witness first-hand as the NFC Champion and AFC Champion battle for the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy on Sunday, Feb. 2.
"At Make-A-Wish, we believe that every child deserves a childhood, which is why we grant wishes that give kids hope and joy today – so they can look forward to tomorrow," said Richard K. Davis, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. "From the first Super Bowl wish in 1982 to the record 19 wishes being granted during our 40th anniversary this year, the NFL has been one of our longest-tenured sponsors, and we are truly grateful for all that the league does to make life better for wish kids and their families."
The tradition of wish kids at the Super Bowl goes back to only a couple years after the founding of Make-A-Wish in 1980. The first wish that the NFL granted was for John Paul Serna, a 12-year-old Arizona boy who attended Super Bowl XVI in 1982. The wish was the 9th ever in Make-A-Wish history, and since then, every Super Bowl for the past 38 years has been attended by at least one wish kid. In total, more than 250 wishes have been granted at the Super Bowl over the past four decades.
To learn more and find out how you can get involved, visit wish.org.
Make-A-Wish® creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. We seek to bring every eligible child's wish to life because a wish is an integral part of a child's treatment journey. Research shows children who have wishes granted can build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight their illness. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish is the world's leading children's wish-granting organization, serving children in every community in the United States and in more than 50 countries worldwide. Together, generous donors, supporters, staff and nearly 40,000 volunteers across the U.S., grant a wish every 34 minutes, on average, somewhere in the country. Since 1980, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 315,000 wishes to children in the U.S. and its territories; more than 15,600 in 2018 alone. For more information about Make-A-Wish America, visit wish.org.