Eli is a tennis fanatic and wishes to go to the US Open for his wish come true from Make-A-Wish® Colorado.
According to wish kid Eli, there is nothing sweeter than the sounds of tennis balls flying through the air and crashing hard against rackets on a hot summer’s day. For this 14-year-old boy from Denver, tennis is life and nothing would ever detract Eli’s passion for the sport, not even leukemia.
Eli was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011 and the illness took a toll on him and his athletic abilities. After his diagnosis, Eli didn’t have the energy to play tennis for eight months – his family tried encouraging him to hit balls a few times, but he ran out of energy and grew tired much quicker than normal.
“I first started to play tennis when I was 10 and fell in love with the game,” said Eli. “Being sick made it hard for me to play but motivated me to get better so I could play again.”
He passed the time by watching tennis matches on television and always dreamed of seeing a live professional tennis tournament. Eli’s wish came true in August 2012 when he and his family flew out to New York for the US Open at USTA Arthur Ashe Stadium. While on his wish experience Eli attended both the men’s and women’s matches and even got to meet the players, including his all-time favorite, Roger Federer!
“We couldn’t believe all the attention Eli was getting at the tournament,” said Eli’s mom, Wendy. “Eli was so excited to be there. The players took the time to meet Eli and were so genuine and heartfelt in making sure he had an amazing time. I will always remember Eli’s face throughout the week. Tennis is his life and the wish gave him complete joy and courage for the future.”
Attending the US Open was the perfect wish for this tennis fan. Meeting Federer, watching the different matches and being surrounded by all things tennis gave him the courage to fight through his illness and hope to play the game again as a healthy, strong teenage boy.