Wish Kid Nicholas Rode with a Professional IndyCar Racer and Sat Courtside at a Pacers Game While on His Once-in-a-Lifetime Wish

When Nicholas complained about severe stomach pain while eating, his parents took him to his pediatrician. There, his doctor noticed that Nicholas had not grown in height for a full year. Diagnostic tests led to the discovery that Nicholas had Crohn’s Disease, an inflammation of the lining of the intestines that can lead to severe pain, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. In order to provide his body with the nutrients he needs to grow, Nicholas has to drink supplement shakes and take medication that keeps his diet high in fat.

Nicholas is a sweet natured, outgoing, and very likeable boy. Nicholas is not the kind of boy who likes to sit inside and play videogames all day; instead, he would rather be outside in the sunshine playing. Nicholas is a member of the Cub Scouts and loves school and his church where he is a member of the youth choir. Nicholas loves following basketball and is a huge fan of the NBA, especially his favorite team, the Indiana Pacers.

Kids Wish Network wanted to give Nicholas his dream and send him to an Indiana Pacers game so he could know what it feels like to sit courtside and get up close and personal to some of the best athletes in the world. Many generous donors and sponsors worked with Kids Wish Network to make Nicholas’s dream a reality.

To begin his wish, Nicholas and his family packed up their car at their home in Evansville and headed north to Indianapolis. Upon arrival in Indianapolis, the family checked into their room at the very upscale high-rise JW Marriot Indianapolis. Nicholas and his family then headed to Fastimes Indoor Karting for a little family fun. When they arrived at Fastimes, to his surprise, Nicholas was greeted by professional IndyCar racer Conor Daly. Nicholas was invited to ride with Conor Daly, and the two of them raced Nicholas’s brothers around the track at Fastimes. Nicholas’s mother, Rachel, said that Conor spent a good two hours with her son. Conor told Nicholas that he wanted to see him at the Indianapolis 500 and would personally make sure that Nicholas is there to watch.

After lunch that was provided by the action-packed Fastimes Indoor Karting, Nicholas and his family headed to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Indiana Pacers, for a memorable evening. The amazing evening began when Nicholas was invited to be an honorary pre-game benchwarmer while the Pacers were warming up for their big game against the Washington Wizards. The Pacers also loaded Nicholas up on merchandise including jerseys, hats, and autographs. Boomer, the Pacers mascot, stopped by to say “hello” to Nicholas, who was invited on the court to throw some balls around. Before the game began, the family was treated to a delicious dinner at the newly-opened Lightbound Courtside Restaurant. When it was time for the Pacers game to begin, Nicholas could not have been more excited!

Wish Kid Nicholas at Pacer's game on jumbotron

According to Roberta Courtright, member of the Pacers Sports & Entertainment team, “Nicholas got to introduce the Pacemakers, our dance team while he was on the jumbotron. We even had WNBA champion point guard for the Indiana Fever, Briann January, stop by and say hi, have her photo taken, and sign autographs. Helping grant wishes and being able to help with experiences like this will never get old, I will always have that excited butterfly in my stomach and tear of joy in my eye,” Roberta continued.

Nicholas’s once-in-a-lifetime wish didn’t end there. Besides spending time with Conor Daly at Fastimes Indoor Karting and sitting courtside at the Pacers game, Nicholas was also treated to other fun-filled activities including a day at the beautiful Indianapolis Zoo and working as a team with his family to make it out of The Escape Room Indianapolis. The family was also provided wonderful meals courtesy of the relaxed, low-key Capital Grille and the scrumptious Osteria Pronto located in the JW Marriot Indianapolis.

Nicholas’s mother said that her son’s wish was phenomenal. “It was surreal; the hospitability that everyone showed Nicholas and the whole family was so good. In fact, Nicholas got a little ‘big headed’, but not in a bad way, but because of the royal treatment and how pumped up everyone made him feel.”

Kids Wish Network would like to thank the following sponsors for helping to make Nicholas’ wish come true:

• Pacers Sports & Entertainment
• The Capital Grille
• The Escape Room Indianapolis
• JW Marriot Indianapolis
• Indianapolis Zoo
• Fastimes Indoor Karting
• Conor Daly


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