Field of (Trojan) Dreams|
Dec. 7, 2015
Julian stood cool and collected on the Coliseum field, facing a mostly face-painted student body stretching 30 yards long in the stands. The scoreboard showed 15 minutes until the Trojans were set to battle the Arizona Wildcats on Homecoming.
The students yelled and cheered as loud as if Adoree' Jackson had just returned a punt return for a touchdown. But referee whistles had yet to sound, and the pigskin had yet to be hiked.
Instead, there was Julian, shooting t-shirts out of a cannon into the Trojan student section. He glanced one way with the t-shirt gun, and then another, as the students did their best to persuade him to fire into their section of the stands. Julian was on top of the world.
Julian was one of 13 children with life-threatening illnesses fortunate to enjoy the ultimate USC football game-day experience throughout the 2015 football season.
A new initiative of the Trojan Outreach program this fall, Trojan Wish has brought a child in need to each home football game this season. The participants and their families receive, parking, tickets, a tailgate pass, Trojan gear, and the opportunity to meet a player, Coach Helton, the USC Song girls and the Spirit of Troy marching band.
Primarily treated at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the kids and their families are selected to participate in the Trojan Wish program through USC Athletics’ partnership with non-profit organizations, including Friends of Jaclyn, The Epilepsy Foundation and Tia’s Hope.
After shooting off a couple t-shirts, Julian met with reserve walk-on long snapper Jake Olson, who has overcome his own set of adversity. Olson, who lost his sight at the age of 12, eventually earned a scholarship to attend USC through Swim With Mike’s Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship Fund. Olson has been a source of inspiration for the Trojans this season and shared some words of encouragement with Julian.
Julian and his family headed to their seats following the fun on the field.
After a slow start, USC eventually rallied past Arizona for a thrilling 38-30 win on the brisk Homecoming night to cap off a day Julian and his family will never forget.