Cohen: Wish Comes True for Family at Magic Game


By Josh Cohen
December 29, 2011


ORLANDO -- Christmas may have been celebrated a few days ago, but for one local family, the ultimate gift was received on Thursday at Amway Center.

While it may not be feasible to alleviate all the anguish the Appleton’s have dealt with the last few years, their experience at the Orlando Magic’s game against the New Jersey Nets was deeply cherished.

Especially for Blake, an 8-year-old who currently has an aggressive form of brain cancer after originally being diagnosed in 2008, Thursday’s present was a wish come true.

Along with his mother, Miranda, and older sister Morgan, Blake got the opportunity to meet some of his favorite Magic players before tipoff, sit courtside to watch the team he adores play and open presents handed to him by several members of the Magic organization.

As soon as players, including Ryan Anderson and Von Wafer, approached him at his seat to talk and play with him, Blake’s spirit was hoisted and you could notice his bright smile from across the court.

“It’s wonderful, it’s amazing,” Miranda said. “It’s overwhelming to know that the Magic care so much.”

After 55 cycles of chemotherapy, 30 radiation treatments, 20 surgeries, including four brain operations, Blake recently decided that he no longer wanted to continue treatment. His life expectancy is approximately six months.

Astoundingly brave and strong, Blake and his family are not allowing this terminal illness to deny them from living an optimal life.

Though incredibly difficult because Miranda is shorn of full-time health care, the Lake Worth natives are doing their best to fulfill Blake’s aspirations.

Earlier this holiday season, Blake received a call from one of his long-time heroes, Tim Tebow. The NFL quarterback also sent a personally signed football to his hospital room.

“I’ve always told Blake that just because he has brain cancer, it would never be his childhood, it would only be a part of his childhood,” Miranda said. “By doing things like coming to a Magic game, it helps me tell him that I am trying to keep my word to him that it would only be a part of his childhood.”