“I knew I was going to be fine, but it was hard for me to tell myself I would be fine,” Dylan recalled as he reflected back on his cancer journey. “I was in a mindset that I didn’t want to be too optimistic all the time. Even when I found out that I was cancer-free, I didn’t really celebrate.” His friends “froze” when he would talk about his cancer battle, leaving Dylan feeling frustratingly isolated. It was hard for him to talk about pushing through a critical illness, in part because “I didn’t look like I had a health problem.”
“I went through a lot of stuff that was hard, physically and emotionally,” Dylan said. “Make-A-Wish telling me that I deserved something like [a wish to go to the Super Bowl] made me feel better about the battle I was fighting. It was an accomplishment when I was done with my cancer treatments.
“The Super Bowl was my celebration of being done with all of that.”
Dylan dreamed of going to the Super Bowl since he was 6 years old, as football ahs long been his inspiration and he’d seen every one of the previous 11 Super Bowls. Every Sunday, he watches the NFL RedZone and monitors his fantasy teams – even when he was in the hospital undergoing treatment. “Every Sunday, I didn’t care about the cancer stuff,” he said.
Make-A-Wish® sent Dylan’s family, along with 13 other wish families, to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII in February 2018.
Dylan’s dad, Paul, said it was “absolutely amazing” to see his son live out his one true wish. Plus, he said Make-A-Wish exceeded his family’s expectations throughout their trip. He and Dylan laughed as they recalled the many memorable moments they shared before the game even started.
“One thing that was really clear was just how excellent of an organization Make-A-Wish is and its goal of uplifting children,” Paul said. “That came through so often during our trip … [Seeing that we were a wish family] really seemed to uplift and encourage people around us. It was awesome.”
With Dylan’s cancer battle behind him, he is seeing new doors open. Dylan was invited to talk about his wish on Sirius XM NFL Radio, and “the feedback he has gotten has been extraordinarily positive, on how good of a radio voice he has and how articulate he was,” Paul said. Although Dylan’s dream was once to be come the general manager of an NFL team, he is now considering a career in sports journalism.
“I feel like I have more options for the future now,” Dylan said.
We can’t wait to see how Super Bowl LIII unfolds for 16 more wish kids this Sunday, in Atlanta, when the New England Patriots face the Los Angeles Rams! Follow along with the Make-A-Wish America Facebook and Instagram stories starting Thursday night through Sunday morning for a glimpse into the action.
A special thank you to the National Football League for more than 36 amazing years of granting life-changing wishes together. Together, we transform lives, one wish at a time.
DID YOU KNOW? Make-A-Wish relies on a variety of donations to create life-changing experiences for children with critical illnesses, such as a wish to go to the Super Bowl. From donating dollars to airline miles and more, you can be part of a caring community that is dedicated to transforming lives through the power of a wish. Donate today!