Heroes In The Making: Luke Hennessy and Hayley Nilsen


Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Six-year-old Luke Hennessy and 7-year-old Hayley Nilsen got the thrill of a lifetime Monday at Target Center. The two were the Timberwolves’ special guests during their game against the Kings, and Luke and Hayley got the opportunity to be recognized on the court, watch the game and be part of the Wolves’ family.

It was the Timberwolves’ way of honoring Luke, of Prior Lake, and Hayley, of Edina, for their courage and strength.

As part of WolvesCare Month presented by C.H. Robinson Worldwide, the FastBreak Foundation is focusing its attention on the Timberwolves’ toughest fans this month—children with life-threatening or long-term illnesses. Luke and Hayley were Monday’s “Heroes In The Making.”

Luke was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy when he was 17 months old, and Hayley was diagnosed with a form of Muscular Dystrophy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth when she was 5.

Timberwolves President Chris Wright and C.H. Robinson Worldwide Representative Maxim Rivkin presented them each with a jersey and an autographed team ball at center court during the third quarter.

The kids, and their families who came with, enjoyed the experience from start to finish.

“It’s fantastic,” said Luke’s dad, Tom. “The ability to get him out on center court and have him recognized for all the things he does. … It means everything, and it’s just a great opportunity.”

Luke and Hayley both enjoy being on the go. Luke loves going fast in his power chair and doing spin-outs in the driveway, and he also enjoys being outdoors with his friends and family. Hayley currently wears braces on her legs but hasn’t let CMT slow her down. She enjoys softball, karate and swimming.

Her dad, Matt, is the Edina High School girls basketball coach, and he said basketball is one of his family’s passions. So getting the opportunity to be recognized by the Timberwolves was a special treat.

“You get a lump in your throat for any support you get for things like this,” Matt said. “We’re really blessed and excited to be part of it.”

Luke said the whole experience was really fun, and his favorite part was watching the Timberwolves competing and scoring up close. His favorite player?

“No. 42,” he said, which is Kevin Love’s number.

For his mom, Tracy, seeing his eyes light up was the highlight.

“He said, ‘Really, we get to go on the court?’” Tracy said. “He just couldn’t believe it. ‘We get to go out there? We get to meet those players and get to see them?’ It was neat.”


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