Vernon boy with cystic fibrosis huddles up with the New York Giants

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:51

    VERNON-Kids make wishes all the time but few actually get to see them come true. This weekend however, Kevin Gocklin's wish "to play football with the New York Giants" was turned into reality courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey. The 11-year-old fifth grader was diagnosed in November of 2002 with cystic fibrosis. Because it is considered a life threatening disease, he became eligible to make a wish with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. "Kevin's doctor at Morristown Memorial Hospital recommended him for the program, and about a year ago the people from the Make-A-Wish Foundation came out to meet the family," said Elissa Gocklin, Kevin's mother. "They told him that he could make three wishes, and that they would make one of them come true. He only had one wish. That was to play with the New York Giants, and could not be persuaded to add anymore to the list, not even a trip to the Caribbean which I jokingly suggested," she added. Kevin's exciting adventure began on Saturday, when he and his parents and older brother Christopher were picked up by limo and brought to Giants Stadium for practice. He got another limo ride to the game on Sunday. "The entire Giants organization was amazing," Elissa said. "The head coach, Tom Coughlin, went out of his way to make Kevin feel special. We were on the field for practice, and at the end the coach called Kevin out into the huddle to give the team pep talk for the game. Then Jeremy Shocky lifted him up onto his shoulders, and the whole team reached over to pat his back." Kevin, who plays football for the Vernon Super Blues, loves everything about the Giants. But his favorite player is number 80 - Shocky. "The best part of meeting the Giants was when Jeremy Shocky lifted me up in the huddle, and also when Michael Strahan gave me his gloves," Kevin said. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that occurs when a child inherits two copies of the defective CF gene, one from each parent. The gene causes the body to produce abnormally thick, sticky mucus which clogs the airways and leads to life-threatening lung infections. The thick CF mucus also obstructs the pancreas, preventing enzymes from reaching the intestines to break down and digest food. "When Kevin came down with pneumonia a couple of years ago and was not getting any better after several antibiotics, we brought him to a specialist who immediately diagnosed him with cystic fibrosis," said Elissa. Though Kevin lives a relatively normal and active life, he does have to undergo a vigorous regimen of exercise and medication daily. "Kevin has to wear a vibrating vest which shakes up the mucus three times a day for 20 minutes each time and also takes inhaled antibiotics three times a day," his mother said. "He also has to be hospitalized once a year for a two-week intravenous antibiotic treatment." For more information on cystic fibrosis or to make a donation, call 800-FIGHT CF or visit For more information on the Make-A-Wish Foundation or to make a donation, call 908-964-5055 or visit