NORTH CALDWELL, N.J. — Thursday was an unforgettable night in Las Vegas for a New Jersey teenager as he announced.
The moment was everything Sam Prince wished for through Make-A-Wish New Jersey and then some, announcing, “The New York Football Giants select Kayvon Thibodeaux, defensive end, Oregon.”
His smile when posing for the selection pic with Thibodeaux and Commissioner Roger Goodall was electric.
CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock spoke with the 19-year-old life-long Giants fan from North Caldwell, who tells CBS2 he’s still on cloud 9.
Prince has hypoplastic left heart syndrome and, 11 years ago, had a life-saving heart transplant. He breathes with one working lung, but you would never know it watching him pump up the crowd before his big announcement Thursday.
“Sam is post-heart transplant and feeling stronger than ever as you can see,” Goodell told the crowd. “Tonight, his wish to announce Giants’ first pick comes true.”
“I was so happy. A little nervous, though. I didn’t want to get the name wrong,” Prince told CBS2.
The excitement didn’t start in Vegas at the draft, but earlier in the week during a private meeting with New York Giants legend Eli Manning, head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen.
During that meeting, Schoen told him, “I need somebody that knows what the heck they’re doing that I can rely on to go to Las Vegas and make this pick for me.”
“They caught me so off guard. I can’t believe it happened,” Prince said.
He admits he was star-struck by his favorite player, Eli Manning.
“These are professional sports franchises that understand and have understood from the beginning the power of a wish,” said Tom Weatherall, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish New Jersey.
Friday happens to be World Wish Day – the anniversary of the founding of Make-A-Wish in 1980. Since then, more than half a million wishes have been granted.
It’s a moment for the NFL players and fans to be proud of, and a series of monumental moments Prince could never forget. After all, it was everything he wished for and then some.
Prince still faces health challenges, but shares he’s feeling “fantastic” and that he plans to become a sports broadcaster. He’ll be enjoying Vegas with his family until Sunday.