SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — More than 400 wishes are granted each year by the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Southern New England.
Each wish is special, but one was granted to a South Kingstown teen recently that is arguably priceless.
“I always wanted to go,” Adam Aref said.
Aref, 19, tries his hand at the big game matchup on his Sony Play Station in his living room, but he’s always wanted to experience the hype of a Super Bowl game outside of virtual reality.
But now he can.
“I’m really thankful what they did for me,” Aref said.
It was the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts and Rhode Island that made Aref’s wish come true.
He has a rare genetic disease known as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It’s progressive, irreversible and there’s currently no cure.
That’s why Aref is excited to savor every opportunity he receives.
“It’s such a wish. I always wanted to go to the big game and I can’t believe they made it,” Aref said.
They being the New England Patriots.
Aref, like most fans, admits it was a tough season, and securing another trip to the big game wasn’t looking promising. His wish was granted in November, and the games that followed were especially nerve wracking.
“It’s a lot of fun. I’m just glad the Chiefs didn’t make it,” Aref said.
Perhaps not all sixteen kids from across the country who were granted the same wish would agree, but they can at least appreciate that what makes their trip possible is the devoted partnership between the NFL, the Patriots specifically and Make-A-Wish for nearly 40 years.
“Rob Gronkowski has granted 14 wishes, Julian Edelman has granted a number of wishes, so they’ve been great partner of ours,” Rich Greif, Make-A-Wish Massachusetts and Rhode Island said.
“I hope they do their best even if they don’t pull it off as long as they tried their best,” Aref added.
That’s all the Patriots are hoping for too, with this year’s battlecry being, “Everything we got.”
“I think they’re just a good team. Belichick’s a good coach, Brady’s a good quarterback. You mix those two things together and you just have something really good,” Aref said. “My favorite part is seeing the confetti, the celebrations just as long as it’s my team not the Rams, you know.”
Aref’s prediction for the game is 31-24 Patriots.
He leaves on Thursday for Atlanta for a special private party for the Make-A-Wish recipients, a behind the scenes tour of Mercedes Benz Stadium and a meet and greet with some of the players.