SANDY, Utah — Jonah Gomez had a great week. He deserved it. Last Friday, the 6-year-old received a very special day courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation: He fulfilled his wish of hanging out with Kyle Beckerman.
The Real Salt Lake captain took to Jonah immediately as the youngster’s enthusiasm, energy and personality was infectious to all of those gathered at the team’s practice.
To watch Jonah at the Real Salt Lake practice you wouldn’t believe that he was a child suffering from any illness. But he is. According to local TV affiliate ABC4 News, “Jonah is the only child known in the world with two rare blood disorders, including sickle cell anemia. He gets blood transfusions regularly and just had open-heart surgery last July.”
Gomez literally hit the ground running, after arriving at Rio Tinto Stadium via limousine and entering the field through the player tunnel. He barely stopped on his way out onto the field where he kicked the ball around with Beckerman and cheered after every goal he scored.
Besides “kickin’ it” with Kyle Beckerman, Gomez’s day included TV interviews, a meeting American Idol runner-up David Archuleta, skipping school and even having ice cream for breakfast (although our sources tell us that it might have been pizza for breakfast).
So how does a kid follow-up such an amazing day?
With another one, of course. On Saturday night, Jonah escorted Beckerman onto the field ahead of the side’s match with Seattle Sounders FC, and get this—he even was able to participate in the ceremony in which RSL players received their 2009 MLS Cup Championship rings, and he received his own ring.
"Since we're getting rings for the championship, I thought it would be fun for him to get his own ring," Beckerman told MLSsoccer.com. "He's an unbelievable kid, tons of spirit, I'm so glad we could all be part of putting a smile on his face."
To top things off, Jonah was the halftime show. Sort of. He joined Archuleta at midfield to sing Archuleta’s song Touch My Hand. He was a complete hit with the home crowd of nearly 20,000.
"The whole organization loved having him out here on Friday and Saturday," Beckerman said. "He had a ton of energy. He just wanted to score when he was playing, and the David Archuleta surprise was great. It was good to see him laugh and smile."