If you make a wish, some dreams do come true.
13-year old Iowa teenager Jack Henry lives with cystic fibrosis. He fell in love with the game of basketball at a very young age.
Thanks to a “special assist” from his friends at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Jack was ushered into Florida this weekend to meet his childhood idol: Miami Heat Guard Ray Allen.
Complete Miami Heat Coverage A usually chatty kid, Henry was at a loss for words in the moments leading up to his meet-and-greet with the NBA superstar. But all of those nerves dissolved as soon as he spotted Allen on the club concourse at Sun Life Stadium, striding across the room to shake his hand. “My man,” Allen said. “How you doing?” At that moment in time, truly, nothing else mattered. "Just to meet him, it was just awesome. It was the greatest thing ever," Henry said. "It’s always a great sign for us to know what we’re doing is more than just wins or losses," Allen said. In its 20th year, the South Florida chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation has raised $3.9 million dollars, granting nearly 9,000 wishes in the process.
Even though he lives in Iowa, Henry’s loyalty as a life-long Ray Allen fan was being rewarded here in the Sunshine State. His father grew up a Celtics fan, and passed the love of Green along to his son.
Henry singled out the crafty veteran as his favorite player, and has been working ever since to mirror his jump shot after the NBA's all-time leading 3-point shooter. Battling cystic fibrosis his entire life, Henry's relatively short compared to the rest of his basketball teammates. During their 30-minutes together, Allen reassured him that even though he’s the shortest guy on the court, he can always become the best player out there. "I talked about shooting a little bit, if you don't grow to the height that you like, we just gotta make sure we work on your release you gotta get that ball out into the air a lot quicker than you would otherwise," Allen said.
"He was everything that I’d want jack’s hero to be, he was kind, he taught him something, he engaged with him," Henry's mother said. And it goes without saying, Allen had a lot to learn from Henry as well.
"To have the life that they know they're supposed to have, just forces me to think about Jack on a daily basis and fight harder for the things that I want," Allen said. After a trip to Disney, and a meet and greet with his favorite player, Jack is off to Tuesday night’s Miami Heat vs. Sacramento Kings game.