Make-A-Wish celebration helps dreams come true for local child

A raucous celebration at UNG’s Bob Stein Stadium was held as Chandler Holcomb, the 2018 Make-A-Wish recipient from Gainesville, Georgia, was introduced to a cheering crowd before the start of the UNG baseball game against the University of West Florida on April 17.Holcomb, a 9-year-old battling leukemia, was introduced during a press conference flanked by UNG Baseball Coach Tom Cantrell and Director of Athletics Lindsey Reeves, as he signed a one-day contract to become a bona fide Nighthawk.

Holcomb’s wish, a chance to go on a Disney Cruise to the Caribbean with his family, was revealed to those in attendance. Afterward he was outfitted in a UNG baseball jersey and cap, and allowed to toss out the ceremonial first pitch of the game.

“Since 2010, UNG student athletes have been providing the funds for more wishes than any other NCAA Division II institution in the nation. This is a true testament to our student-athletes and their commitment to community service and helping others less fortunate,” Reeves said.

UNG Athletics has a very special relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, raising money to grant a wish to children with life-threatening illnesses.UNG has won the Peach Belt Conference’s (PBC) Make-A-Wish Award, named after former UNG student-athlete LeeAnn Noble, for eight consecutive years.

Since the Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee established the partnership with Make-A-Wish in 2003, the division has raised more than $5.3 million for the nonprofit. Those funds have been used to grant wishes to more than 660 children across the country with life-threatening medical conditions.

In 2017-18, eight institutions raised more than $10,000 — the national average cost of a wish reveal — and automatically earned a wish reveal party. UNG has hosted six consecutive Make-A-Wish events on campus.