Posted on: August 15, 2008 3:58 am
Edited on: August 15, 2008 4:01 am

If You Could Have One Wish, What Would It Be?

It's a classic question, you're walking along a beach and find a bottle with a genie in it. As you pick it up and before you rub it, you start thinking of all the things you can get from it. Unlimited wealth, living forever, a harem of beautiful women for your pleasure. Excited, you begin to rub and the jinn appears, offering you a reward for setting him free from his bottle. That reward is not three, but just one wish, but he cautions you before you wish for unlimited numbers of wishes, that there are conditions. You have one wish, but cannot wish for more wishes or unlimited wealth. You have one wish, what will that wish be?

I've pondered this question from time to time, thinking about what I would wish for. Like many, a million things come to mind. Of course the genie didn't say I couldn't wish for a specific amount of money, so I could wish for 35 million dollars or to be the owner of the winning Powerball ticket. But would I wish for this? Maybe, if it happened on the day I was writing out checks to pay bills, but probably not. I could ask for what I ask for every morning, that I didn't have to go to work, but then I figured, the Jinn would probably age me to 72 so that I would be of age to retire, that would be my luck after all. I could wish for that grass hut on a beach in the Caribbean, but the chances would be I'd be placed there right before a category five hurricane goes through. Of course, I could wish for health and happiness of my family, but that would more then likely be a fleeting wish, since it would be transient.

I could also wish, like this morning, not to be plagued with nightmares or the ability to sleep past 3 or 4 am. Of course, I could wish to take in a Steelers game once in my life or to meet my favorite athlete (of course, I already had the pleasure of having this one granted). However, each time I think of this, what my one wish would be, I always come back to the same answer.

In our closet, four jerseys hang. Two are mine, a Jerome Bettis jersey and a white, number 7, Ben Roethlisberger jersey. The 36 jersey will hang there forever, not to be worn again. The other two belong to my husband. One is a Colt's blue, number 18 jersey and the other, a teal and white number 13 jersey with the name Marino on the back. My wish hinges on one of these jerseys. I look at the 36 jersey and think how nice it would be to have it autographed and placed in a frame, along with a picture I have of a younger me, with a younger Jerome Bettis. Yet, my eyes go back to the teal jersey and I think, this would be my wish, to have Dan Marino sign it, so I can have it framed for my husband. Simple wish, maybe, unless you realize what something like this would mean to my husband.

Brian Burghduf had a simple wish, to talk to Peyton Manning, and with the help of "Life is Precious" in St. Joseph, Michigan and Peyton Manning himself, was able to have his wish fulfilled. According to IndyStar.com, Manning had called Burghduf on July 24th and spent ten minutes talking, not only to him, but to two of Burghduf's sons also. A simple gesture for a simple wish, which left a lifetime of memories.

"Brian was so thrilled. My sons mean the world to me and my husband and for Peyton to take time to make my husband's day and my kids' day, knowing what was coming, we'll always have that memory. It was just an awesome memory to have and that's what my husband would want.'' stated Sherri Burghduf, Brian's wife.

Brian would succumbed to his battle with leukemia on July 29, 2008.

Often, we've seen where teams and sports figures participate in fulfilling the wishes of individuals who are either terminally ill or facing life-threatening illnesses through programs like "Life is Precious" and he "Make A Wish" Foundation. Often times, these wishes are something we take for granted, a phone call, the opportunity to attend a day with a sports team, or, as in the first wish of the Make A Wish Foundation, the opportunity to become a police officer.

Foundations like these succeed because of the efforts of volunteers, charitable donations and the genuine desire to create memories for those who are facing the toughest battle of their very lives.

So if you had one wish, what would that be?

Note: If anyone has a link or contact information to the Life is Precious program, it would be appreciated.
Posted on: April 8, 2008 7:22 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2008 7:46 pm

People Who Care - OJ Brigance - Baltimore Ravens

There is no cure for it, no treatment.  The only thing doctors can hope for right now is slowing the progression of the disease using a specific drug.  In it’s advance stages, the brain stops sending messages to the voluntary muscles.  In the end, it could lead to complications in breathing and causing the breathing to cease. 

The disease is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is a typically fatal disease.  It is this disease that O.J. Brigance, is working to help researchers find a cure for.  It is this disease the Brigance has been diagnosed with. 

Having spent 7 years as a linebacker, OJ Brigance has played with the Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams, New England Patriots and during 2000, was with the Baltimore Ravens, where he currently works now as Director of Player Development. 

In his fight with ALS, he has created the Brigance Brigade Fund, a foundation that fundraises for the battle against ALS.  He is an ambassador for the John Hopkins University Packards Center, and Honorary Chairman for the Packard Center 5K and Fun Run, which will occur on May 3d.   

What is ALS:  ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually lead to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. (1)

Early symptoms may include weakness or cramping in the hands, feet and limbs; twitching in the muscles, thick speech or difficulty in swallowing.  Advanced symptoms can include difficulty in breathing.  ALS doesn’t manifest itself the same way in everyone, nor does it effect everyone the same way.  Although the average survival time for those diagnosed is three to five years, many people live beyond that.  In some instances, ALS has shown to remit or halt the progression. 

It wasn’t just his ALS that made Brigance a person who cares.  While with the NFL, he had worked with Habitats for Humanity, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Daily Food Bank.  His works in the community had lead to him being honored with the NFLPA’s Unsung Hero award in 1999. 

OJ Brigance definitely is someone who cares.

For more information:

Brigance Brigade

 Packards Center Fiesta 5K and Fun Run

 The ALS Association

(1) What is ALS, from the ALS Association Website.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com