A wish is granted

Chiefs fan meets Patrick Mahomes

 AREA — When teams take the field for the big game on Sunday, there’s no doubt who Kasey Christensen will be cheering for. Kasey is a Chiefs fan, and through the Make-A Wish-Foundation®, he recently met his favorite player, reigning Super Bowl and National Football League MVP, Patrick Mahomes.
 Kasey was raised in a Chiefs family, his mom, Keri said. “I have been a Chiefs fan for years, so has my dad. Kasey and his grandpa have bonded during Chiefs games.”
 Keri said Kasey’s love for the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes grew a few years ago, when the quarterback led the team to their first Super Bowl win in half a century.
 “He really got into it when they won,” Keri said. “For Kasey, something just sparked with Patrick. He’s a little overboard. I was pushing for Travis Kelce to be his favorite,” she laughed. “That didn’t work.”
 “I don’t know what it is, but even before he met him, he would tell everyone Patrick was his best friend,” Keri said.
 She said Kasey has a night time ritual when he “throws a hug” to Mahomes, who is represented larger than life in the form of a 7 foot decal on Kasey’s wall.
 Kasey was born with a genetic disorder. Keri said when he was two, his doctor mentioned the Make-A-Wish Foundation®. Keri said Kasey had several diagnoses which would qualify him for a wish through the foundation, and throughout the years, she was approached to submit Kasey’s wish.
 “I kept thinking, not yet. He just wasn’t into anything that much. I just had a feeling we needed to wait.”
 The foundation stops granting wishes once a child turns 18. “I knew it could take a while to get the wish granted”, she said. So when Kasey was 16, Keri decided it was time for Kasey to make a wish.
 On August 5, 2022, Keri, along with Kasey’s doctor and nurse submitted the paperwork. She was told it would take a while for approval.
 She found out a little over a week later a wish would be granted. Following the decision, Keri said it took a lot of paperwork and phone meetings, and the family had to present different options for wishes.
 On July 29, 2023, two representatives from Make-A-Wish came to the house and told Kasey he would be meeting his favorite football player. Keri said Kasey was “on cloud nine.”
 Keri and Kasey went to the Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph, MO August 3, 2023. They were accompanied on the all-expenses paid trip by his dad and step mom, Ryan and Trista (Fusselman) McLaughlin.
 Keri said Kasey was shell-shocked upon meeting Mahomes.
 “He couldn’t believe Patrick Mahomes was there talking to him.”
 Keri said she told him Kasey tells everyone they are best friends. “Mahomes looked at Kasey and said, ‘We are. I just didn’t know it yet, but now I met you, we are definitely best friends’.”
 Keri also explained Kasey’s evening ritual of throwing him hugs.  “He said, ‘Kasey you better be ready, because I am going to throw you a hug tonight!’” Then she said he bent down and gave Kasey a hug and said, “Bring it in, big guy.”
 The quarterback posed for photos, and signed Kasey’s jersey and leg braces, which of course, are Chiefs themed.
 “Kasey loves showing everyone Patrick’s signature on his braces. He has a reminder of meeting him  every where he goes.”
 For Keri, the best part was watching her son’s dream become a reality. “He’s been through a lot. To see him meet his idol, the person who he looks up to, means everything,” Keri said.
 Keri said the family was surprised to see the photo of Kasey and Patrick Mahomes shown during the AFC Championship game a few weeks ago.
 “I was getting dinner, and Kasey got so excited. I didn’t realize what had happened, then my phone started blowing up!”
 The photo was shown in a promotional piece for the team’s nominee for one of the NFL’s top honors.  Each NFL team nominates one candidate for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, recognizing a player for outstanding community service activities and on-field excellence. This is the second straight year that the Chiefs Organization has nominated Mahomes.
 “In my opinion, there couldn’t be a better athlete for Kasey to look up to,” Keri said.
 In addition to the Make-A-Wish® sponsored trip this season, their family also attended other training camps, one pre-season game, and two other games, but for Keri, seeing Kasey’s wish come true was an experience she and her family will always remember.
 “It’s for the kids, but as a family member who was there, it was an unbelievable experience to see something like that unfold after everything my son has been through. He felt important. He felt seen. It was unforgettable.”
 Keri said her family is grateful for the opportunity.
 “I can’t thank the Make-a-Wish Foundation®, the Chiefs Organization, Patrick Mahomes, and every single person who has volunteered or donated to Make-A-Wish.”
 “To make this dream a reality for these kids is unbelievable. The look on his face that day was unforgettable. There aren’t even words to describe how much it meant to Kasey.”
 Keri said Kasey is excited for the championship game, which they will be watching at his dad and stepmom’s house. “Kasey’s ready. I love the Chiefs, but I am tired of hearing their music. He has been playing it non-stop!”
 Keri said Kasey has no doubt who will be the  Super Bowl Champs. “His friend is playing, so he knows they are going to win.”



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