During what should have been a joyful and expectant time in his life, eighteen-year-old Efrain found himself dealing with more than he bargained for as he entered his senior year of high school. While his friends toured colleges and planned for their futures, Efrain fought for his future following a germ-cell tumor diagnosis. Efrain’s family watched helplessly as their son, a healthy, active, teenager, went from playing soccer competitively on the school soccer team to enduring aggressive rounds of chemotherapy surrounded by teams of doctors and nurses. Efrain’s future hung in the balance, and those close to him wondered if things would ever get better.
Several months into chemotherapy, Efrain was introduced to two volunteers from Make-A-Wish®, Edgar and Christian. Edgar and Christian were Efrain’s wish granters, and the bond between the three of them was immediate. Edgar and Christian shared Efrain’s love for soccer, and together they would spend hours playing online FIFA tournaments together and discussing the latest matches. It was this love for soccer that ultimately led Efrain to wish to travel to Spain with his family to watch his favorite team play.
Edgar and Christian decided a FIFA tournament at the local GameWorks would be the perfect way to reveal Efrain’s wish come true. Together with local sponsors, House Advantage, Efrain learned his one true wish was being granted. House Advantage even gifted him with a Real Madrid jersey to wear on his trip. Efrain was so touched by the kindness of his Wish Granters and new friends from GameWorks and House Advantage, he couldn’t help but feel emotional as the magnitude of the moment overwhelmed him. “Our team here at House Advantage are strong believers in the power of a wish, and we could not be more excited to help make this wish come true for Efrain,” said Jon Wolfe, President and CEO of House Advantage. "House Advantage is dedicated in its support for Make-A-Wish® Southern Nevada and it is our intention to help make many more wishes come true in the future.”
After a few months of planning the perfect trip, Efrain and his family were en route to Spain where they would be attending a Real Madrid game at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. For four days, Efrain and his family enjoyed touring the city of Madrid and exploring the vibrant culture. On the day of the soccer game, Efrain was gifted with a once in a lifetime experience as he was allowed to enter the empty stadium before the game began. Efrain, a goalie himself, stumbled upon the legendary Read Madrid’s goalie, Iker Casilla’s soccer gloves, and said: “the feeling was indescribable.” Efrain had long admired this team from far away; to now be standing on their field was truly a dream come true.
Efrain and his family had the best time at the Real Madrid vs Real Sporting soccer game. The game ended in the home team’s favor by a score of 5 to 1. Efrain’s favorite player, Cristiano Ronaldo, showcased his skills and scored two goals, almost as if he knew one of his huge fans flew in from Las Vegas.
Efrain’s Mom shared, “…at the stadium, I was emotional because I knew this was really a dream come true for my son. I did not picture seeing my son in this very moment.” Efrain’s wish gave him the motivation to keep going when all else felt lost, and now his wish has inspired him to one day soon return again to the city that he loves.