The following was written by Jennifer Getsch, Chief Missions Officer at Make-A-Wish® Colorado
In January 2024, wish kid Jackie flew from San Antonio to Colorado to meet her favorite hockey team, the Colorado Avalanche!
Jackie's wish began at San Antonio International Airport, where she was greeted with open arms by Southwest Airlines’ San Antonio Employees. The Team sent Jackie and her family off in style with Southwest swag, which was only the start of a SWA-tastic trip! Her next stop—Denver International Airport.
When Jackie’s flight landed in Denver, she was welcomed by an entourage of people waiting to greet her, including Make-A-Wish Colorado staff and volunteers, Southwest Airlines Employees, Colorado Avalanche Mascot, Bernie, and members of the Ice Patrol. Bernie escorted her through the terminal and posed for pictures with her as the Southwest Team made sure she felt incredibly special the entire time. It was an airport greeting she will never forget!
Then, Jackie went on a behind-the-scenes tour of Ball Arena and sat on the players’ bench to watch the pre-game skate. She grinned the entire time as she watched her favorite athletes fly around the ice. Players skated up to fist-bump her and say hello and one even gave her an officially licensed hockey puck to take home as a souvenir! After practice, Jackie met the players one-by-one and asked them questions about everything from their hockey careers to what kinds of dogs they had. She loved getting to know the team but was most excited when superstar Nathan MacKinnon stepped out of the locker room to say hi to her! "Can I give you one of my sticks?" he asked her, and Jackie's eyes widened as she nodded in disbelief, telling her mom "This is the best day ever!"
The best day ever just kept getting better! Jackie was given her own seat in the Avs locker room, right next to MacKinnon’s! She grinned as she put on her new jersey, signed by the entire team, and posed for pictures with her family. Her mom quietly teared up, explaining how impactful it was to see all these top-caliber athletes take time out of their day to make her daughter feel special. " It's indescribable. I wish it would never end,” she said. "I know this is going to stick with Jackie for a very long time." Jackie's wish was made even more special by cheering the Avs to a victory at their game later that night!
“Today means I got through cancer. I survived. I got my wish,” Jackie said. “It was the most amazing day of my life.”
Thank you so much Southwest Airlines for helping make Jackie's wish come true. Southwest is an incredible partner of Make-A-Wish Colorado and we are grateful for their support of our mission!