Arkansas Make-A-Wish kid uses his wish to pay it forward to his community

Make-A-Wish kid uses his wish to benefit his whole community

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 city is getting brand new tennis courts for the entire community to use, but not with taxpayer dollars or through a grant.

A senior at Pocahontas High School plays tennis and basketball, and he's also a three-time survivor of Stevens-Johnson syndrome TEN, an auto-immune disease that makes the immune system attack the body.

Make-A-Wish told him he could do anything he wanted, but he decided to give his wish back to the entire community.

It was a night full of applause as athletic excellence awards were given out to Pocahontas High School students, but it was a different kind of trophy that stole the show.

“Obviously, we were very excited,” Chase’s dad, Andrew McDonnough was in on the surprise. “It was hard to keep a secret.”

Chase McDonnough got his wish granted through Make-A-Wish, but it wasn't for a trip to Disney World or a fancy cruise.

"They basically said he could have whatever he wanted," McDonnough said. "He could take a trip to Europe, he could do whatever he wanted."

His wish was to pay it forward, to get something the entire community could enjoy, tennis courts for the city.

"That's his favorite sport," Make-A-Wish Ambassador Danna Johnson said. "He wanted to be able to give back to the sport that he loves, to the school he has grown to love, and to the community as well, and he wanted it to be somewhere where everyone could use the courts."

It was a show of selflessness that marks the first time ever a wish in this area was used for the benefit of others.

After several donations and fundraising $16,000, and thanks to Chase, the entire city of Pocahontas went home with the biggest trophy of the night.

Johnson said construction on the courts will start as soon as the weather warms up a little more, but they’re hoping to have them finished and open to everyone before Chase leaves for college in August.

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