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 helped grant their first wish of the 2014-15 season on Sept. 29 when 10-year-old Emily wished to be a celebrity for a day. Emily, who is battling leukemia, was surprised at the mall by Henrik Zetterberg and his wife Emma, who both helped her pick out a gown fit for a princess. Emily even was asked to sign an autograph for the Red Wings captain. Later in the season, the Zetterbergs hosted Emily and her family in the Zetterberg Foundation Suite for a game.
On Oct. 30 and 31, Owen got to live life like a Red Wing. At two-weeks-old, Owen was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disease affecting the lungs that requires him to take more than 25 pills per day. The six-year-old from California has been a Detroit Red Wing fan since he was a toddler, and his favorite team made his wish come true by giving him the opportunity to get dressed in the Red Wings locker room, skate with the team during practice and even score on his favorite player, Jimmy Howard. After practice, Owen went to Howard’s hair salon to get his hair cut like the Red Wings goaltender. For more information on Owen's Make-A-Wish experience, please click here.
As part of the Red Wings annual Make-A-Wish night, Hunter was surprised by the team with some items to help grant his wish of having a Detroit Tigers and Red Wings man cave. After morning skate on March 26, Hunter was presented with a framed, autographed Pavel Datsyuk jersey and received a tour of the Red Wings locker room before being surprised by Datsyuk with a personalized game-used stick.
Children's Hospital of Michigan Annual Visit
The Detroit Red Wings currently partner with Children’s Hospital of Michigan with 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.
Thank You Notes
“Watching Owen's dream true right before our eyes is pretty difficult to put in words. We knew he was going to have a great time meeting the players and going to a game, but we could have never imagined how wonderful this trip would be. The generosity from the Wings literally started when we passed through the doors of Joe Louis Arena. Owen was met with a bag full of Red Wings goodies, a personalized jersey and Jimmy Howard there to meet him. He couldn't believe that he was going to the locker room to dress out with the Wings. Once we got in the locker room, Owen was in another world. I don't think he has ever been further away from his daily grind of therapies and medications than he was that morning, checking out the locker room, hanging out with the players, and practicing with the team on Joe Louis ice. For a couple hours that morning, cystic fibrosis simply didn't exist.”
“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 wanted to personally thank you for the special night that you set up for Ty last Friday. Besides the fact that the game was on in a shootout, the meet and greet was amazing. The locker room, seeing the players -- everyone was so generous. Ty actually got 5 signatures! The whole event as a once-in-a-lifetime event for Ty and actually all of us."
“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.”