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‘The greatest feeling in the world’: NFL stars surprise Make-A-Wish kids

Updated February 9, 2024 - 9:14 pm

Headwear retailer Lids brought out the star power to make 20 Make-A-Wish kids and their families’ Super Bowl trip even bigger.

Raiders star wide receiver Davante Adams, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons surprised the families on Thursday at Lids’ flagship store located in the Showcase Mall on the Las Vegas Strip.

Seeing the kids’ faces light up when getting autographs or taking photos with the NFL stars means as much to Adams as it does to the starstruck children.

“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Adams said Thursday. “Just knowing how much you do for them, doing so little, it kind of puts things in perspective. You know what’s most important and just know how small of a task you can do and how big of a reward it brings these kids.”

Hamlin spent time chatting with various kids while their parents shot photos, hugged and even cried when they met the safety.

Just over a year ago, Hamlin collapsed during a Bills game after suffering cardiac arrest. Hamlin went on to make a full recovery and rejoined the Bills this season. Make-A-Wish kid Chris Lee from Boston spoke with Hamlin for several minutes, and he walked away inspired.

“Meeting them all in person, we all look up to them, we watch them leave it all on the field and it’s amazing to finally meet them in person and have conversations with them, they’re just like us,” Lee said. “(Hamlin) talked about being creative and being you. I asked him about how he dresses and his fashion, because he put on some tough fits throughout the season, so I asked him for advice and he said ‘Just be you and be creative.’ ”

Aside from the shopping spree and meeting the star players, the kids and their families also visited the Fanatics distribution center in North Las Vegas, participated in a “pack war” at Paradise Card Breaks hobby shop, attended NFL Honors, took a tour of Allegiant Stadium and will attend Sunday’s big game.

Michael Rubin, Fanatics CEO, who has ownership in Lids, said he hoped the trip would create lasting memories, ones that can be used to inspire the rest of their life.

“The only thing I’m thinking about is how we can make sure that everyone here has the best weekend of their lives,” Rubin said to the crowd. “We want you guys to have so much fun this weekend. You’re at the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, that’s pretty awesome. … We want you guys to dream so big and believe so big, cause you know that anything is possible.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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