Somerset Middle School student Alan Ojeda was in for a surprise during the Stanislaus State men’s basketball game on Saturday when the moment he thought he was only going to be honored as a local Make-A-Wish child turned into the moment he found out that his wish for a shopping spree was going to be granted.
During the halftime portion of the game, Ojeda was invited onto the court where Make-A-Wish Northeastern California and Northern Nevada Communications and Outreach Senior Director Michele Flynn announced that his wish was being granted and he would be given over $2,000 to spend during a VIP shopping spree via limo to Best Buy the following day.
“I am just very excited,” said Ojeda. “I’m glad I got what I got and I feel very grateful that I actually got to have my wish granted. I didn’t think it was actually going to happen tonight.”
The 13-year-old said on Saturday that he hopes his shopping spree will result in a new iPod since his shattered, headphones, a gift for his brothers Juan Cadena and Evan Cadena, and maybe a new video game. His parents, Erendira Ojeda and Jesus Cadena, said through a translator that they were simply “really happy for Alan.”
“He just loves electronics and Apple products,” said Flynn. “This $2,000 can go a long way, especially since he will have his own personal shopper with him.”
Ojeda was diagnosed with a brain tumor in July of last year after he began suffering from headaches that were the cause of concern. Since then he has undergone surgery and radiation treatments, which could last anywhere from six months to a year according to Flynn.
During his visit to Ed and Bertha Fitzpatrick Arena, Ojeda not only found out his wish for a shopping spree had been granted, but he also got the opportunity to meet members of the basketball and soccer teams at Stanislaus State, tour the facility, and run through the “tunnel” of players at the beginning of the game.
Ojeda also got the chance to meet members from the Stanislaus State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, who raised $5,000 to grant his shopping spree wish—a total that President Chelsea Lewandowski said was the most raised for Make-A-Wish per student athlete out of all Student-Athlete Advisory Committees in the Central California Collegiate Athletic Association.
“I think Make-A-Wish is a great organization and it is always great to something nice for someone else—whether they have an illness or not,” said Lewandowski. “This was a great opportunity to help out and give someone something they really want because they deserve it. I am glad we raised enough to grant a wish.”
The CCAA, and consequently the Stanislaus State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II, which has been a sponsor of Make-A-Wish since 2003. Since then, the alliance, which consists of Division II student-athletes who conduct predetermined fundraisers and volunteer their time to benefit Make-A-Wish, has raised more than $3.5 million dollars. This partnership was undeniable on Saturday as Flynn said that the NCAA matched the $5,000 that was raised by the Stanislaus State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for Ojeda.
For more information about Make-A-Wish Northeastern California and Northern Nevada, visit necannv.wish.org.