Make-A-Wish: NJ Devils select 13-year-old battling cystic fibrosis in NHL Draft

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Thursday, October 8, 2020
NJ Devils select 12-year-old battling cystic fibrosis in NHL Draft
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Anthony Johnson reports on one boy's true wish of becoming a member of the New Jersey Devils.

TOMS RIVER, New Jersey (WABC) -- A 13-year-old battling cystic fibrosis was selected by the New Jersey Devils in Tuesday night's NHL Draft, thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Reilly Hoagland, of Toms River, said his one true wish to become a member of his favorite hockey team, and the Devils broadcast a special honorary draft selection as part of the 2020 NHL Draft.

Reilly's wish was granted as a surprise outside his family home, where the Devils' mascot "NJ" and Devils' alumni Bruce Driver and Grant Marshall presented him with a contract, his own jersey, and a special video message from GM and Executive Vice President Tom Fitzgerald welcoming Reilly to the team.

His special day also included pickup hockey with NJ, Driver and Marshall in the family driveway.

Related: NJ teen uses his Make-a-Wish to benefit other kids in the hospital

Reilly's wish to become a New Jersey Devil was granted through Make-A-Wish New Jersey, whose mission is to create life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.

His parents are full of joy over the success of their child. It was a tough secret they had to keep for a couple of weeks.

"It was really hard because I was just so excited for him," his mother Laurie Hoagland said.

Reilly was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a young child and continues to courageously battle the life-threatening medical condition.

Doctors say takes daily treatments but looks healthier than ever.

Despite his critical illness, Reilly is a talented athlete and hockey player who proudly wears #8 as right wing for the Toms River Black Hawks.

Reilly is also a lifelong Devils fan, so when he was asked the question that brings the mission of Make-A-Wish to life, "If you could have one wish, what would it be?" Reilly knew he wanted to become a New Jersey Devil.

Reilly's wish experience will continue next year, when he and his family will join his fellow Devils at the Prudential Center for a game.

Related: 13-year-old becomes 'superhero' to help homeless

Due to current public health concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Reilly's in-arena experience at Prudential Center will take place when it is once again safe to do so.

He has already crossed a major hurdle and is looking forward to the future.

Make-A-Wish officials say that while travel-related wishes or those that involve large gatherings have been postponed for the well-being of wish kids and families due to current medical and public concerns, the organization remains steadfast in its mission and reaffirms to the community, and to wish families.

Wishes are not canceled, they say. Hope is not canceled. And wishes like Reilly's are being granted in new ways across the country and around the world.

They are made possible by dedicated partnerships and the support received from organizations like the New Jersey Devils.


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