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Pepper serves as Poinsettia Bowl tee fetcher


Last updated 1/11/2007 at Noon

Daniel Pepper, a 14-year-old Fallbrook resident, was the tee fetcher at the Poinsettia Bowl played December 19 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

“He had a ball. He’s just thanking us every day,” said Alex Cano, the community events manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego. “He was just so excited to be part of it all.”

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which fulfills wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions, is the beneficiary of the Poinsettia Bowl. The relationship includes six “wish kids” participating in activities on the field the day of the game. Two serve as honorary team captains, two sing the National Anthem, one participates in the coin toss, and one fetches the kicking tee. The Poinsettia Bowl participation does not substitute for the wish, but the Make-A-Wish Foundation tries to utilize children whose wishes were recently fulfilled or about to be fulfilled. Functions are also determined in part by age appropriateness, and in the case of the National Anthem specific skills or interests are taken into account.

“They do several things with us, with our children,” Cano said of the San Diego Bowl Game Association, which organizes both the Poinsettia Bowl and the Holiday Bowl, “which is pretty neat for our kids, and they just have a blast at the Poinsettia Bowl; they have a really good time.”

Pepper’s actual wish was to go to Disney World, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation arranged for a trip to Florida for Pepper and his family from January 1 through January 7. In addition to his participation in the Poinsettia Bowl, as well as the Poinsettia Bowl luncheon December 18 on the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum (formerly the USS Midway), Pepper also modeled in the Golden Hanger Awards, a fashion show held October 27 at the Town and Country Hotel in San Diego.

Pepper is battling a brain tumor. A child, parent, or medical professional can contact the Make-A-Wish Foundation to place a child on the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s eligibility list. The Make-A-Wish Foundation submits a verification form to a doctor, and if the doctor verifies that the child has a condition on the foundation’s list of life-threatening illnesses the child is approved as a wish kid. Pepper was approved by the Make-A-Wish Foundation in June 2006.

The Ramada Inn in Kearny Mesa donated a room so Pepper and his family would be able to spend the night in San Diego during the Poinsettia Bowl instead of returning to Fallbrook.


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