2 Metro teens live out wish at Super Bowl

Derek Draplin
The Detroit News

For two local teens, both sports fans with life-threatening medical conditions that have left them unable to play sports, attending Super Bowl XLIX Sunday isn’t just a dream come true.

It’s a chance to spend quality time with family after long fights with their severe health issues.

Addison Donahue, 16, of Livonia was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in December 2013. In May 2014, Addison had her left leg amputated after chemotherapy didn’t work.

She was a member of Divine Child’s girls basketball team as a freshman and sophomore, but now serves as assistant manager for the varsity team because of her disability.

“Family time ... we haven’t had a lot of that in the last year because of spending so much time in the hospital,” said Maureen Donahue, Addison’s mom.

Brian Jarosz, 19, of Wixom has spinal muscular atrophy, which he was diagnosed with in 2008 at 13.

After a childhood full of playing sports, Brian now must use a mechanical wheelchair for mobility, but remains an avid sports fan.

“He’s having a wonderful time,” said Amy Jarosz, Brian’s mom, noting Brian’s love for football. “The support people give is making his dream come true.”

Their trips to professional football’s championship game were made possible through the Make-A-Wish Michigan Foundation. Addison and Brian arrived in Phoenix, Arizona, Thursday with their families.

“It means a lot to me that people take time to do this kind of stuff,” Addison said about those who made the trip possible. “The family time” is what Addison said she’s most looking forward to.

Alissa Shipman, Brian’s wish coordinator, said he had been waiting a couple of years for this.

“All along he wanted to go to the Super Bowl,” she said.

Three of Brian’s siblings came along for the trip, Jarosz said. They plan to spend Saturday evening together as a family at Dave and Buster’s.

Brian is rooting for the Seattle Seahawks, while Addison wants the New England Patriots to win.

“He’d love to meet the quarterback,” Jarosz said, referring to Seattle’s Russell Wilson.

Make-A-Wish Michigan, which grants wishes to Michigan kids with life-threatening medical conditions, has made possible more than 8,000 wishes since its founding in 1984. Children can be anonymously referred to Make-A-Wish, which then visits the families and interviews them. Once selected, wishes are paid for through donations.

According to Make-A-Wish Michigan, the organization grants roughly one wish every day for a child.

The first Super Bowl wish came in 1982, when a 12-year-old Arizona boy had his wish granted to attend Super Bowl XVI in Pontiac.

Ten other wish youths from around the country will also attend Sunday’s Super Bowl with their families.

During their stay, Addison and Brian will visit Super Bowl Central and the NFL Experience, and tour the University of Phoenix Stadium.