While the University of Arkansas football team was preparing for its big homecoming matchup on Saturday against Tulsa, Thursday afternoon at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium was not a typical day of practice for the Hogs. As senior quarterback Tyler Wilson walked out onto the field he threw the football and on the receiving end was not senior wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, but Brayden a 12-year-old Arkansas native. After catching the ball, Brayden repeatedly spiked the football with joy in front of his friends, family and the Chi Omega Chapter.
Brayden is part of Make-A-Wish Mid-South, which gives back to children who have had life-threatening medical conditions. Brayden’s wish was to go to the Walt Disney World® Resort in Hawaii with his family, but Maggie Kell, the Make-A-Wish Coordinator for the Chi Omega Chapter, wanted to take Brayden’s wish a step further.
Kell and the Chi Omega’s contacted the University of Arkansas Athletic department and set up the special meeting for Brayden and his favorite players. The 12-year old knew he would visit the stadium with his family, but had no clue that he would be meeting three Razorbacks, get a tour of the locker room, get to play on the field and have his Make-A-Wish dream come true.
After being informed that the Chi Omega’s granted his wish to go to Hawaii, Brayden celebrated by hitting the field with Wilson, Hamilton and junior kicker Zach Hocker.
"It was pretty awesome," Brayden said. ""It felt like it was I was an actual player there for a minute."
Brayden caught touchdowns from Wilson, threw to Hamilton and kicked field goals with Hocker with the cheers from his family and the Chi Omega members in the background.
"It was incredible just to see him walk through the locker room and just making a dream come true for him," Hocker said. "Sending him off to Hawaii and putting him on the game field and just seeing the emotion run through his face was just awesome. Tyler, Cobi and I are just honored that we were able to be a part of something like this. It was just great."
After a touchdown celebration by Brayden and Wilson in the end zone, Wilson made Brayden’s day again when he presented him with a No. 8 autographed jersey. Brayden immediately put it on for pictures with his family, friends and the Chi Omega members.
"I grew up in the state and I know how much the Razorbacks mean to so many people," Wilson said. "For Brayden to come out here today and get to experience it and be out here in the stadium and get to throw around with us; it obviously means a lot to him, and it means a lot to us. I will always remember it."
Brayden and his family left Saturday for his visit to the Disney Resort in Hawaii.
"This is just a dream come true for him," Brayden’s mother Lisa said. "He was born a Hogs fan. When times were tough and he was going through treatment he would watch the Hogs and cheer them on."