Matao works with Make A Wish to grant child's wish
[June 13, 2015 - Tamuning, Guam] Matao head coach Gary White, captain Jason Cunliffe, and teammates Ryan Guy and A.J. DeLaGarza took some time off from their training camp to visit Miguel Rosario, a patient in Guam Memorial Hospital's Pediatric ICU, who will be leaving Guam to the Philippines for surgery due to complications from a congenital heart disease.
The surprise visit was coordinated by Make-A-Wish Foundation - Guam Chapter, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening diseases. MAWF Executive Director Victor Camacho was on hand for the presentation, along with Ray Haddock from the Orange Crushers FC, GMH nurses, and Rosario's parents Michael and Annie.
The 12-year-old soccer enthusiast only asked for an autographed jersey, but was delighted to receive a surprise visit from members of the Matao, Guam men's national team Saturday morning, who also presented Rosario with a framed, autographed team photo, autographed soccer cleats, and an autographed ball in addition to an autographed jersey. Guam Football Association General Secretary Tino San Gil also presented Rosario with the official GFA pennant, reserved for only opposing teams in competitions and a handful of dignitaries. San Gil proclaimed Rosario as an ambassador for GFA and the Matao, as he presented the pennant.
The story appeared on the front page of the June 14 edition of the Pacific Sunday News, written by Manny Cruz. The article follows below:
Guam Matao stars make boy's wish come true
Guam Memorial Hospital patient Miguel Rosario, 12, was left speechless yesterday when he received a surprise visit from members of the island's national soccer team.
The young soccer enthusiast's quiet, Saturday morning in the GMH Pediatric ICU came to a sudden stop when Matao head coach Gary White, forward Jason Cunliffe, midfielder Ryan Guy and defender AJ De La Garza walked into his room.
He was star-struck.
The visit was organized by Guam's Make-A-Wish chapter. The organization grants wishes to children with life-threatening conditions. Rosario was born with congenital heart disease.
"He told me he wants to be a soccer player. He plays it everyday," said Make-A-Wish Foundation executive director Victor Camacho. "All he asked for was a signed jersey but we were able to go above and beyond and put this all together for him."
After a few words of encouragement from the Matao players, Miguel was presented with a jersey, team photo, ball and new soccer boots, all signed by members of the team.
Guam's soccer team was put in the spotlight Thursday after winning the first Guam-hosted FIFA qualifier match against Turkmenistan. The team is set to play India on Tuesday.
In jest, Guy asked Miguel who his favorite player was on the national team. Under pressure, he quickly pointed to Cunliffe.
"This means a lot to me," Cunliffe said later. "I have young children of my own. So, to be able to bring a little joy to this young man's life while he has a big fight ahead of him is an honor."
Miguel's mother, Annie, was in on the surprise visit. Through tears, she expressed her gratitude for the support of Make-A-Wish and the team for putting a smile back on Miguel's face.
Miguel began experiencing medical complications in April, according to Dr. Mary Hernandez. He will fly to the Philippines on Tuesday to undergo surgery at The Medical City.
Miguel's father, Michael Rosario, said he and his family were optimistic about Miguel's condition. "Miguel is ready for the surgery, and we're all just very thankful to the nurses and Dr. Hernandez," said Michael Rosario.
Miguel Rosario, center, and Make A Wish Foundation Guam Chapter Executive Director Victor Camacho, pose for a photo with Matao head coach Gary White, left, and players A.J DeLaGarza, Ryan Guy, and Jason Cunliffe during a surprise visit at the Guam Memorial Hospital's Pediatric ICU coordinated by MAWF. Rosario will be leaving to the Philippines on Tuesday to undergo surgery for complications from a congenital heart disease. Nurses and Rosario's parents Michael and Annie were on hand for the visit and gift presentation.