John Morreale is an 18-year-old who is absolutely passionate about basketball and the Boston Celtics. He never misses a game on TV and he knows all about his favorite players. So, when he was given the chance to wish for anything in the world, he immediately replied that he wanted to meet the team and attend a Celtics game in person.
The chance to have such an amazing wish granted came about because John is suffering from two life-threatening brain tumors. Just last year, John started having issues with his eyes. John sought medical help when symptoms like blurry vision became seriously debilitating. He was given a brain scan, which showed that he had two tumors: one on his pituitary gland and one in the middle of his brain.
He has since gone through chemotherapy treatments and is still being monitored today.
It was John’s social worker at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who told his parents about the organization, Kids Wish Network. According to a press release sent to The Lunenburg Ledger, Kids Wish Network is a national charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children who have experienced life-altering situations.
Eager to help John realize his dream, Kids Wish Network, began fundraising and a wish-funding specialist made a few calls around John’s hometown of Lunenburg. It did not take long before the specialist had a great list of amazing sponsors who were more than willing to help: the Workers Credit Union, who made the wish possible; the Lunenburg Women’s Club, who couldn’t wait to help; and St. Boniface Church, who helped to make John an extra special surprise gift box.
With all of these special local businesses and organizations behind John and the Kids Wish Network, John soon found himself and his family on their way to Boston to meet the Celtics.
“It was just great,” said John. “The Celtics [had] invited us a practice and we sat on the sidelines.”
As soon as they arrived in Boston, John and his younger brother Evan were invited to attend a Boston Celtics’ practice session in person.
At the practice facility, John and Evan sat courtside and watched their favorite players get ready for their game the next day. John was beside himself when his favorite player, Paul Pierce took some time out of his practice to visit with John and his brother.
“Paul Pierce came over and sat with us and talked to us for about 20 minutes. They played on the court and were just so nice. They took pictures with us – it was so cool.”
Head Coach Doc Rivers also visited with John during the practice, along with players Kevin Garnett, Nate Robinson, Glen Davis, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo.
The team presented John with an official Boston Celtics’ jersey, a basketball and a gym bag, which each of the players had signed. John’s hero, Paul Pierce even presented the teen with a personalized present. Pierce gave John a signed pair of custom size 15 shoes.
John was speechless at their kindness and generosity, exclaiming that “The Celtics treated us like royalty!”
The next day, John, Evan and the boys’ parents were invited to attend an official game, the Boston Celtics vs. the New Jersey Nets. The family was taken directly courtside to watch the warm-up and then to a suite where they enjoyed the game and a complementary dinner of pizza and wings.
“It was great, but also so weird watching the game because I kept thinking ‘I was just hanging out with these guys yesterday!’” John said.
John said the two-day trip was a dream come true, and an experience he will be talking about for years to come.
Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following for helping to make John’s wish extra special: Boston Celtics, Workers Credit Union, Lunenburg Women’s Club, St. Boniface Church, New England Aquarium, The Onyx Hotel and The Four’s Restaurant & Sports Bar.