POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - Cheers and excitement filled the air as the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted a Pocahontas teen’s wish, but it wasn’t a typical wish.
Region 8 News has reported on Chase McDonnough and his auto-immune disorder in the past.
Make-A-Wish people showed up to Chase’s door one day, asking him many questions that ultimately led to his real wish coming true.
Chase wished for a community tennis court, for everyone to enjoy. The process took quite some time to complete.
Make-A-Wish worked with Pocahontas leaders as well as the United States Tennis Association to make this wish a reality.
“It was really crazy that it was actually happening. I never expected it,” he says.
Chase and his dad, Andrew McDonnough, came to the tennis courts while he was growing up.
At the age of 13, Chase was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome that attacks the auto-immune system. The diagnosis changed his life forever.
“I beat that, and I’ve gotten it four times since then,” he says.
Chase doesn’t let his illness keep him down. When Make-A-Wish reached out to him, the wish came to him easily.
“This was pretty much my first thought,” he says. “Me and Coach Cavenaugh would joke about how awful the tennis courts were and how cool it would be to get new ones. This seemed like a good way to use that.”
Marie Cavenaugh, Chase’s coach, easily saw his fighting spirit.
“He’s a fighter, whether it’s on the tennis courts, basketball courts or lying in a hospital bed,” she says. “He’s fought for everything.”
Jenna and Andrew are Chase’s parents. They are proud of their son and the relationship he has with Coach Cavenaugh.
“I try to not get emotional like that but between Coach Cavenaugh who’s like family, this whole community and the school,” Andrew says.
Make-A-Wish made sure Chase was the first person with a ball and racket in his hand. Then, he let the ball fly.
“I did not expect the course to look this good,” he says. “That’s the main thing. These look really cool.”
Region 8 News asked Chase what he would tell others battling illnesses. His answer: stay positive and rely on family and community prayer.