Wisconsin football has long been active in the Madison area community and the state of Wisconsin at large and 99% of the time we hear nothing of it. Whether it's visiting sick kids at the Children's hospital or helping food banks or whatever it may be chances are you and I never will know about it and that's the way it should be most of the time.
However, on Wednesday one of those rare times where we should know about it will take place as fourteen year old Madison native Darien Moran will have his wish come true courtesy of Wisconsin football, local businesses, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Darien's wish? It could've been the Super Bowl, a trip to the Rose Bowl, instead he chose to have a room makeover done in a football theme.
Why the football themed room makeover and the wish being granted?
Darien has always been active on the football field, wrestling mat and soccer field. When he began experiencing hip and leg pain in the summer of 2011, doctors first suspected it was a sports-related injury. After several physical therapy sessions, Darien's symptoms were gradually worsening and his Aunt Terry Soerens noticed he was losing weight. Further testing revealed a far more serious diagnosis; Darien had a rare autoimmune disease called histiocytosis. This was another devastating blow for a kid who had already endured the loss of both his parents by the time he was five years old. Darien began a year of chemotherapy to treat the histiocytic tumor in his hip and pelvic bone. Yet six months later, he was sidelined again with a tumor on his skull and is currently undergoing three consecutive, daily regimens of chemotherapy every 28 days.
When the room makeover began to take shape the local chapter of Make-A-Wish reached out to the Badgers and asked if the football team would be willing to appear at the unveil.
What they got back was way more than than they thought and something Badger fans shouldn't be surprised about.
The organization responded in an even greater way by offering athletes to help with room assembly over three evenings, inviting the family for a personal tour of Camp Randall with Coach Gary Andersen, contributing gear for the entire family, creating a special video as well as attending the room reveal party.
Coyle Carpet One, Home Depot, Design Electric, Target, IBM, Silver Leaf Design Gallery and Pellitteri Waste Systems soon stepped forward to contribute their talents, resources and numerous products to outfit the room according to Darien's special vision. His room will include a wall-to-wall UW Badgers turf rug, "stadium" lighting, a ceiling fan, football graphics and accessories, framed prints, a flat screen TV, laptop computer, gaming and sound systems, sports collectibles, and more. Nancy Higgs also incorporated into the room design Darien's collection of 60+ hats, many of which were given to him by his dad who passed away.
"This story exemplifies the power a wish can have on an entire community, and we'd like to thank the Badgers football organization, all the local businesses and individuals who helped make Darien's wish come true," said Nicole Williams, Madison Regional Director for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. "This makeover will allow Darien to rest and recover after treatments in a special space full of all his favorite things. He'll enjoy his room for many years to come, and the family is incredibly grateful to the community of supporters that made this happen."
Make-A-Wish Wisconsin grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Wishes are a special type of medicine that give children a break from doctors' visits, hospital stays and treatments and provide a ray of hope during a difficult time. More than 4,700 families across the state have experienced the healing power of a wish since 1984, and 325 wishes were granted by the Wisconsin Chapter last year alone.
It's hard not to have the heartstrings pulled by a story like this and for more information or to learn how you can make a difference, please call the Madison Regional Office for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin at 608-252-4321 or visit www.wisconsin.wish.org.