13-year-old Boston is a sports fanatic.
“He’s completely a sports kid,” says his mother, Bernadette. “He has never watched cartoons, he doesn’t watch TV shows, he only watches sports.”
Boston excels at team sports, including soccer, basketball, and flag football, despite living with a genetic disease that has the potential to hold him back. Boston was born with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disorder that causes damage to the lungs and digestive system. “He has a passion for team sports and the competitive heart to go with it,” says Bernadette. “He is a positive leader on and off the field.”
Soon after his birth, Boston’s family knew something wasn’t right. But it took medical experts six months to finally reach a diagnosis. When Bernadette first learned the news, she recalls it felt “like a big rain cloud sitting in our house.” But the family hasn’t let Boston’s condition dictate his life. “We raised him to believe that he had different needs than other kids, but that he was completely the same,” she explains.
“We take guidance from our cystic fibrosis clinic team and our naturopathic doctor,” says Bernadette. “We work hard to keep his digestive system functioning well, with the hopes that the disease will stay manageable.”
When given the option to wish for anything in the world from Make-A-Wish Canada, Boston chose to meet his favorite NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers. Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area and the 49ers Community Relations team found an opportunity to grant Boston’s wish during the weekend of the NFC championship game in January 2020.
Joined by his mom, dad Darren, and brother Zach, Boston made the journey from his home in Regina, Saskatchewan to San Francisco for a life-changing three-day adventure. They spent the first two days meeting and interacting with 49ers staff and players, then returned for a thrilling day at a packed Levi’s Stadium watching the 49ers take on the Green Bay Packers.
Boston was treated to a VIP experience–he met famous hall of famers, received a private tour of the stadium, and watched from the sidelines as the team warmed up for the big game. At the program practice, he met 49ers General Manager John Lynch and had the opportunity to high five, fist bump, or hug the players as they headed out to the practice field.
After practice, all four of Boston’s favorite players–QB Jimmy Garoppolo, TE George Kittle, DE Nick Bosa, and CB Richard Sherman–asked him to break down the huddle. “It was one of the coolest things that ever happened to me,” he says. A video of that heartwarming experience, shared on the 49ers Twitter account, has been viewed over 86,000 times.
Since his wish went viral, Boston has become a local celebrity in Regina. “He’s completed seven interviews since he’s been home,” says Bernadette.
“To see the 49ers up close, to interact with them, and to be there for a playoff game was something where Boston’s smile made his eyes sparkle!” says Bernadette. “A lot of big smiles!”
Boston left the game with some beautiful memories and awesome memorabilia, including an autographed jersey, two signed footballs, and even a pair of George Kittles’ gloves. He also left feeling proud of his team–they’ll be heading to the Superbowl this Sunday for what will only be their second appearance in 25 years.
Boston will be watching the game closely, hoping he can be the team’s good-luck charm for a second time in a row.