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Rivers makes wish come true

Posted Jan 23, 2012

SAN DIEGO – Philip Rivers would rather be preparing to host the AFC Championship game at Qualcomm Stadium this week, but Rivers’ open schedule on Wednesday offered a blessing for one young boy.

On a day’s notice, Rivers rearranged his schedule, drove to Los Angeles and visited Jaime, a 7-year-old with a life-threatening illness who wanted to meet the Chargers’ quarterback.

Jaime, an Escondido resident, has two forms of cancer derived from a short bowel transplant he underwent in 2004. Jaime now is in palliative care after his physicians decided to stop chemotherapy last week due to adverse results.

“Jaime had been kind of depressed, in a really funky state since he was taken off chemo last Friday. He wasn’t very personable and a little angry,” Make-A-Wish wish coordinator Jessica Partida said.

“When Philip came to visit him on Wednesday, his whole persona just changed. He was happy and giddy. It was a 100 percent, 180-degree turn in him. And that’s what these wishes do for these kids. It gives them a little light when it’s pretty dark sometimes.”

An avid Chargers fan, Jaime’s No. 1 wish was to meet Rivers “because he is the best player and he seems like a nice guy. And also, I like his jersey number.”

The offseason is fairly busy for Rivers, who will attend the Pro Bowl in Hawaii next week, is an active husband and father of six children and is involved in his budding Rivers of Hope Foundation.

The Chargers got a call from the Make-A-Wish Foundation after noon Tuesday. The quarterback was adamant about dropping everything to ensure Jaime’s wish was granted.

Rivers rearranged plans for the next morning and drove up I-5 toward Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA in Los Angeles, car stocked with Chargers gloves, a beanie, wristbands, and a No. 17 jersey signed for Jaime.

During the course of a 90-minute visit, Rivers played catch with Jaime in his hospital room. The Chargers quarterback explained to Jaime, self-conscious about his shaved head, that Rivers cuts his hair almost as short before training camp. The two also watched game film together and shared a few private moments of conversation and reflection.

“He knows how to handle children and act around them and make them feel comfortable,” Partida said. “Jaime, when he saw Philip, it was like he’d known him for years and they were best friends. It was just extraordinary the way he connected with Jaime and we’re just very thankful for him.”
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