On any given Monday night in the fall, wish mom Marisol knows exactly where she'll find her son Alberto: happily glued to the television, calling out plays, yelling at the referees and cheering on his favorite players as they battle for superiority on Monday Night Football.
A football fanatic for life, Alberto has been through a lot since his brain cancer diagnosis. Because of the cancer, Alberto can be indecisive and have memory loss. But, neither came into play when it came to making his wish.
From the minute Make-A-Wish® Alaska and Washington volunteers entered his life he was certain of one thing: his wish was to meet the Pittsburgh Steelers. It had to be a memorable game against a worthy opponent so the choice was clear: he wanted to see them spar against the Baltimore Ravens.
There's no question where his football loyalties lie. This teen bleeds black and gold. So, with his family by his side, it was off to Heinz Stadium in Pittsburgh to cheer on the Steelers.
There's a first time for everything
The night before his wish experience, Alberto was so excited he couldn't sleep. Not only was the thought of meeting his favorite NFL team on his mind, but this would be his very first time on an airplane. "He was very excited," Marisol said. "And then when we got there, we couldn't hold him still!"
Alberto had the opportunity to meet and talk with several Steelers players at the practice field. When it came time for a face-to-face with his hero, Troy Polamalu, it was everything Alberto could have hoped for and more. "It definitely exceeded his expectations," Marisol said of the entire experience. He even received an autographed hat and football from all of the players, and the banner that hung from the window at his send-off party ... is now covered in autographs.
On game day, Alberto and his family enjoyed the up-close view from their stadium seats and rooted for their team to win! Alberto cheered so loudly that he lost his voice.
"I cannot thank you enough for the smiles everyone at Make-A-Wish has brought to Alberto," said Marisol. "[Make-A-Wish] is awesome for the families and for the kids ... it's a positive thing for them, especially when they are going through so much."
Touchdown Make-A-Wish and the Pittsburgh Steelers!
Special Thanks: Wish granting volunteers John Barriball and Shellie Barger, Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania & Southern West Virginia, Pittsburgh Steelers