Six-year-old Jonovan Verrier’s wish to become a professional skateboarder was granted at Macy’s in the Aventura Mall Friday morning.
Jonovan, who prefers “Angel,” was diagnosed with Blue Rubber Bleb Nevus Syndrome, a rare condition that affects the gastrointestinal system, causing pain, tiredness, and external growths that bleed. This makes it hard for him to walk and he must sometimes use crutches.
“He has to be careful overall,” said his mother, Stephanie Verrier. “Having him walking and skateboarding alone is great.”
Angel takes immuno-suppressive medications and sees doctors frequently in order to monitor his condition.
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Angel got into skateboarding because his dad did it. He knew that he wanted to be a professional skateboarder since the day he saw skateboarders doing tricks on huge ramps. His favorite skateboarding move is the “side kickflip.”
Angel was referred to Make-A-Wish, who sent two volunteers to his Hollywood home to find out what his wish was. The volunteers played a wish game with Angel to narrow it down to one, which was to be a professional skateboarder. A wish coordinator then coordinated his wish with sponsors.
He arrived at Macy’s on Friday with his mother in a limousine, and they were presented with a big blue cake covered in images of Tony Hawk, Angel himself and skateboard motifs.
Then, Angel was guided to artist Marcus Borges, who painted him a customized skateboard with his name surrounded by a ninja and skull design. Borges also customized a hat and shirts for Angel, and showed him how to use art tools and how to add his own design details to the skateboard.
After that, Angel rode his skateboard with professional skate instructor Paul Hurtado throughout the third floor of Macy’s.
“He’s very excited and positive,” said Hurtado. “And he doesn’t care to fall.”
Hurtado, who has his own skateboarding school, will be training Angel for 10 weeks, followed by Angel’s debut skate performance for his birthday party in January.
“Tony Hawk is my favorite skateboarder — and Paul,” said Angel. “I am so happy and excited. I can’t really think about wanting anything else.”