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Both in sports and in life, Mark, 7, is determined to overcome obstacles

  • Hundreds of friends, neighbors and family members surprised Mark at his house for his big wish reveal (Photo by Anthony Gonzales)

  • Mark gets ready for a stellar shot on his new backyard sports court (Photo by Anthony Gonzales)

  • Mark has a big family and his favorite thing to do is play and be active with his siblings (Photo by Anthony Gonzales)

  • Mark, 7, loves all kinds of sports and has always been a Phoenix Suns fan (Photo by Anthony Gonzales)

  • Mark, 7, wished to have a sports court (Photo by Anthony Gonzales)

  • Mark poses with his wish granters as well as Mark West and Sonny Weems from the Phoenix Suns (Photo by Anthony Gonzales)

“ Mark's wish will last a lifetime. ”

- Mark's Dad, J.R.

Mark loves sports of all kinds, and understands the determination it takes to overcome obstacles in the game and his own daily life.

Born with a congenital heart defect, the 7-year-old has endured three surgeries and will most likely have to deal with the life-threatening nature of his condition for the rest of his life.

Even with the physical challenges Mark faces with his illness, his favorite thing to do is play outside and be active with his three brothers and three sisters. That is how Mark’s wish granter volunteers knew that Mark’s wish to have a Versacourt in his backyard to share with his family and friends was his one true wish.

Mark’s wish granters, who work for Discover Financial Services, encouraged others from their company to help build Mark’s one-of-a-kind basketball court, sure to make his house the go-to place for neighborhood fun. Volunteers spent the morning of Mark’s wish assembling the court and decorating the yard for a sports-themed reveal party.

“It’s overwhelming how we started this process just a few months ago and now we can see the results,” said Mark’s dad, J.R. “Make-A-Wish Arizona has exceeded all of our expectations.”

Mark is a huge Phoenix Suns fan and requested the team’s colors on his Verscourt. When the Phoenix Suns found out, they wanted to be a part of this incredible wish experience. So, they reached out to Make-A-Wish Arizona to ask if Suns guard Sonny Weems, Suns leadership Mark West and Tom Leander, members of the Suns hip-hop Solar Squad, and Suns mascot, The Gorilla, could come out to surprise Mark. And what a surprise it was! Together, the Suns representatives, the Discover Financial Services volunteers and more than 50 of Mark’s family members, friends and neighbors waited in 110 degree heat to surprise him and see his reaction to a wish come true.

“When Mark saw his court he was at a loss for words,” said Sonny. “He really put a smile on my face."

Mark, 7, wished to have a sports court.

Everyone welcomed Mark through the crowd, high-fiving and cheering him on before he made the first official basket on the new Versacourt. Make-A-Wish Arizona presented Mark with a wish certificate and former Suns player Mark West and Suns broadcaster Tom Leander made him an honorary Suns team member for the day with a personalized Suns jersey.

When asked to describe his wish in one word, Mark summed it up as “AWESOME!”

Mark’s family is thrilled he will be able to grow up with this Versacourt and share it with kids in the neighborhood. With six siblings, Mark will always have someone by his side to play and enjoy his new court.

“We are so thankful for this opportunity,” said J.R. “Some kids wish for something that lasts a day or a week, but this court will last a lifetime.”

Mark's wish was adopted by Discover Financial Services: 

Discover Financial Services

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Lucas , 11

life-threatening lung disease

I wish to have a backyard splash pad

11-year-old Lucas' face lights up when he sees his brand new splash pad

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Make-A-Wish® Arizona
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