By Josh Cohen Nov. 18, 2017
ORLANDO – Shortly after 3 p.m. on Saturday – roughly four hours prior to tipoff between the Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz – Maggie Scurlock arrived at Amway Center with her family. From that moment on, the 8-year-old from Huntersville, N.C. couldn’t stop smiling, couldn’t stop making new friends and, most of all, couldn’t stop dancing.
This wasn’t a surprise to her parents, Danny and Lisa, as they have come to know their daughter as someone who brings ceaseless joy to everyone she meets.
With that contagious smile and sparkling personality, Scurlock quickly emerged as the star of the night. Fulfilling her dream of performing with the Orlando Magic Dancers and spending the evening with her idols was everything she hoped for and more, an experience she and her family will cherish forever.
Scurlock’s mesmeric night was made possible by Dream on 3, a non-profit organization with a mission to make dreams come true for children with chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities or life-altering conditions. When learning about Scurlock, who has Down syndrome, Dream on 3 didn’t waste any time coordinating with the Magic to make her dreams a reality.
Elated to see Maggie, a cheerleader back home, in the spotlight and so happy, the Scurlocks know this experience will boost her spirit and enthusiasm even more.
“When she walked into the arena, there was nothing like it,” Danny Scurlock said. “These will be memories that she will never forget. When something small happens at home, she will talk about it for days. Well, this is going to go on for the rest of her life. She is going to talk about this for the rest of her life. We are so incredibly happy for her to have this experience.”
“She has a gift of making people feel comfortable,” Lisa Scurlock added. “People are drawn to her. I don’t know if it’s her smile or her laugh. She loves making people happy and people sense that and they love being around her. It was really neat to see all the cheerleaders excited when they saw her.”
Scurlock, who has a passion for cheering, loves basketball and adores the Disney character Sofia the First, specifically chose the Magic when this dream originated in her mind. The Disney connection and the fact that the colors of her cheerleading squad in North Carolina are the same as the Magic played a big role in her choosing Orlando.
Ecstatic to finally meet the entire family after months of planning, Magic Entertainment Teams Manager Jeanine Klem-Thomas felt Scurlock’s warmth and zest right away.
“When I met her she gave me the biggest hug like we’ve known each other for years,” Klem-Thomas said. “When I walked her into the actual arena, the court, she ran to the girls (Magic Dancers) and said ‘there’s my team, there’s my team.’”
Perhaps it was fate that connected Scurlock to the Magic as one of this season’s dancers, Julia, grew up in the same area just outside of Charlotte.
“When Jeanine said she was from Huntersville, I immediately texted Jeanine in all caps, I said ‘can you believe that Maggie is from the same town as me?’” Julia recalled with exuberance.