Garcia serves as honorary team captain for Poinsettia Bowl
Last updated 1/3/2008 at Noon
Camp Pendleton’s Isaac Garcia served as Utah’s honorary team captain for the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl played December 20 at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium.
Garcia’s appearance was part of the Poinsettia Bowl’s relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego.
The 13-year-old Garcia was introduced prior to the game between Utah and Navy and was on the Utah sidelines during the game won 35-32 by Utah.
Garcia was also introduced at the Poinsettia Bowl luncheon December 19 on the San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum (formerly the USS Midway).
Garcia was also part of the pre-game show which involved the San Diego area’s Wish Kids, and he received a University of Utah football jersey signed by ESPN commentator and former football coach Lou Holtz.
“One of the things that Make-A-Wish is able to do is making memories for these kids and their families,” said Alex Cano, the community events manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego.
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 “Wish Kids” participating in activities on the field the day of the game in functions such as honorary team captains, fetching the kicking tee, and participating in the coin toss.
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.
The Navy honorary team captain was 12-year-old Danica Boight, who lives in La Mesa.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego selects one boy and one girl to serve as honorary captains at the Poinsettia Bowl.
Garcia had another factor in favor of his selection. “He likes football,” Cano said.
Garcia’s wish was to meet Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young. That wish was achieved at the end of the 2006 professional football season, when Garcia and his family traveled to Nashville, attended a Titans home game, and met Young.
Garcia’s stepfather, Adrian Gomez, went to Tennessee with the family to participate in Garcia’s wish. Gomez has since been deployed to Iraq and was not at Qualcomm Stadium for the Poinsettia Bowl.
Garcia’s family also includes his mother, Mirza Gomez, and a nine-year-old sister, Kyra.
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.
Garcia has been diagnosed with lymphoma and was approved as a Wish Kid in August 2006.
In addition to the fulfillment of their wishes, the Make-A-Wish Foundation also invites Wish Kids to a holiday party, an Easter egg hunt, and other activities during the year.
The San Diego Bowl Game Association organizes both the Poinsettia Bowl and the Holiday Bowl. The association donates $1 from every Poinsettia Bowl ticket sold to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego, and the bowl committee also hosted a tailgate party on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation which was attended by approximately 600 people.
“They continue to make wishes come true in San Diego for the Wish Kids,” Cano said.