The stars were out Monday night at Sun Life Stadium when the Make-a-Wish Southern Chapter hosted its annual Ultimate Sports Auction.
Players, coaches and alumni from South Florida pro and college teams enjoyed cocktails and dinner while bidding in a silent auction to raise money to grant the wishes of local children who have life-threatening medical conditions.
The Southern Chapter, which is one of 62 chapters in the United States, serves children and families in 13 counties in Florida, including Miami-Dade and Broward.
To date, this event has raised nearly $4 million and granted the wishes of 900 children in South Florida.
And Monday night, another wish came true.
Jack Henry, a 13-year-old with Cystic Fibrosis from Iowa, got to spend one-on-one time with his idol, Heat guard Ray Allen.
“It’s been such an awesome experience, I can’t believe I got the chance to meet him,” said Henry, who idolized Allen since his Celtics career. “He told me no matter what your size is to keep fighting and put your heart in the game.”
It was a fulfilling experience for Allen, as well.
“Every time I step out on the court or out in public I know there are kids watching,” Allen said. “Every shot you take on the court, every move you make, someone idolizes what you do. It’s always great to know that what we are doing is worth more than just those wins and losses.”
Not only did Henry hang out with his idol, but he will attend his first NBA game and see Allen play Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings.
Among the celebrities were NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka, former University of Miami and FAU football coach Howard Schnellenberger and former Miami Marlin Cliff Floyd