Making Dreams Come True
The Detroit Red Wings are dedicated to making a difference in our local community, particularly when it comes to fans facing life-threatening illnesses. Whether it’s sending a fan a care package and encouragement letter from the team or inviting a fan to Joe Louis Arena to watch a practice or meet a player after a game, the Red Wings look to lift the spirits of those fans going through challenging times in their lives.
The Detroit Red Wings have granted 18 wishes from the Make-A-Wish Michigan since 2005, including two during the 2014-15 season. In November 2011, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America named the Red Wings one of five recipients of their annual Chris Greicius Celebrity Award. Most recently, the Red Wings were recognized as one of Make-A-Wish Michigan's Leaders in Joy at the 2014 Wish Ball in Detroit.
The Red Wings hosted their first Make-A-Wish of the 2013-14 season Dec. 31, 2013. Jayson, a 20-year-old from California, had wished to go to an outdoor NHL game when he was 18, but treatment for ALL leukemia prevented him from doing his wish for two years. However, in anticipation of the Winter Classic, Jayson and his family were able to tour the Red Wings locker room and observe the family-only Red Wings practice at Michigan Stadium. Jayson also had the opportunity to meet his favorite Red Wings players – Jonas Gustavsson and Jimmy Howard. Jayson was in attendance for the historic Winter Classic, along with the OHL doubleheader and Alumni Showdown as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival.
The second Make-a-Wish came on March 20, 2014, when Brendan, 17, and his family from Illinois attended the Red Wings game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and saw Daniel Alfredsson score the game-winning goal with less than one second remaining in overtime. Prior to the game, Brendan met with head coach Mike Babcock and rode the Zamboni with legendary driver Al Sobotka. The following day, Brendan and his family watched a Red Wings practice from the bench at Joe Louis Arena. Brendan, who has end-stage kidney disease, met every Red Wings player and had a team photo at center ice during practice.
Children's Hospital of Michigan Annual Visit
The Detroit Red Wings currently partner with Children’s Hospital of Michigan with our Coach's Visit program, as well as our annual holiday visit to lift the spirits of kids with serious medical conditions. During the visit, the entire team splits up into five groups of players in order to visit every single ward in the hospital.
Other Unique Opportunities Granted to Fans
In addition to partnering with the Make-A-Wish Michigan and Children's Hospital of Michigan, the Detroit Red Wings' Community Relations Department also fulfills requests from fans, who are going through a difficult time whether it's a fan with cancer or a wounded soldier who just returned from serving overseas. The Wings will grant unique opportunities to these fans whether it's a practice visit, meet and greet, Zamboni ride, etc. on a case-by-case basis.
“We wanted to thank you for all that you did to make Brendan’s Make-A-Wish an incredibly special event. Brendan has not been able to stop talking about all the things he saw and all the people he met. The past few days will be something he will never forget. To listen to him tell our extended family of his experience seeing the game, meeting Coach Babcock and the players has been amazing. To top it off, seeing his picture with the whole team at center ice on the ‘Official Red Wings Facebook’ page brought tears to our eyes again. We assume you and your team were part of that and we cannot thank you enough.”
-Steve & Kim
“I can't thank you enough for all that you did for the Johnson family [name changed]. They really were speechless. All they could say is thank you, thank you. They just couldn't say enough to express their appreciation. I have told everyone I have seen this weekend how wonderful the Red Wings are and how supporting they are to their fans. I will be a lifelong fan of the Wings."
“Thank you so very much for this morning’s visit. Ryan is beaming ear to ear! This was just what the doctor ordered and will really make a difference in his ongoing recovery…The players don’t know how big this is for us mere mortals, but they have made a big difference in the life of one recovering firefighter.”
“I just wanted to thank you again for the most memorable event and evening Gary and I have ever had. All the way home, he kept commenting on how he felt so special…You and all the staff at Hockeytown and the Joe Louis Arena were so obliging to us, not to mention the utmost generosity of the players who came out to meet and greet Gary…What you did and the players for Gary will truly help his mind and fear of having his procedure done next Monday and Tuesday much easier. Thank you, again, and everyone else connected to this Kodak moment in our lives.”
“I cannot thank you enough for the items you sent to my friend Elizabeth from the Red Wings. The package was waiting for her when she arrived home from her radiation treatment today, she cried! She is thrilled and will frame the letter. You and the team have made a difference in her life today and she will treasure it. I know she has a rough road ahead of her, but you have made it better.”