Kids Wish Network congratulates Gamecocks on Independence Bowl victory

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Children's charity Kids Wish Network congratulates the University of South Carolina Gamecocks on the team's victory over Miami at the 2014 Duck Commander Independence Bowl. Kids Wish Network recently worked with the University to surprise a Wish Kid with a send-off party.

Photo courtesy of "The State"

Ciara was so surprised when she arrived at the party

Children’s charity Kids Wish Network congratulate Guardian Angel wish sponsors the South Carolina Gamecocks on the team’s recent win at the Duck Commander Independence Bowl. The University and its student athletes, including Gamecock Team Captain A.J. Cann, partnered with the charity to help throw Wish Kid Ciara Cooke a surprise pep rally before her wish was granted.

Ciara battles epilepsy and type 1 diabetes, two life-threatening diseases. Ciara had her first seizure at 2 and has been hospitalized a total of six times since her initial diagnosis. She takes daily insulin shots and watches what she eats but it doesn’t stop the constant threat of a seizure episode.

Ciara’s physical activities are limited but one of Ciara’s favorite things to do is attend University of South Carolina events, including football, volleyball, and equestrian meets. The latter is where she met, and befriended, Cann. Never one to be shy, Ciara simply walked right up to the 6’ 4” offensive guard and introduced herself, and they have been friends ever since.

Cann, along with the University of South Carolina’s Athletic Department and Kids Wish Network, planned a send-off celebration complete with members of the cheer, volleyball and football squads.

“Ciara was so surprised when she arrived at the party,” recalls mom Helen Cooke. “Kids Wish Network really went all out when planning Ciara’s wish. It was great to involve Ciara’s friends at the University.”

After her send-off, Ciara spent five magical days at the “happiest place on Earth” during her wish trip. She loved meeting Anna and Elsa from “Frozen”, dining with “Winnie the Pooh” characters, and experiencing all the fun rides. When the “kiddie” rides got too boring, Ciara even braved the big roller coasters and giant, splashing water rides.

And this past weekend, when it came time to cheer on her friend and the Gamecocks, Ciara remembered her own party and cheered just as enthusiastically as the players did for her. The Gamecocks bested the Miami Hurricanes 24-21 on Saturday making this win the team’s fourth straight bowl victory.

Kids Wish Network and Wish Kid Ciara congratulate the team on their win and wish the Gamecocks all the best for next season. Ciara and Kids Wish Network will also be cheering on Cann as he enters the 2015 NFL draft.

Kids Wish Network is a charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Visit http://www.kidswishnetwork.org for more information and to learn how you can make a child’s dream come true.

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Sarah DuPree
Kids Wish Network
+1 (727) 937-3600
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