Caps’ Make-A-Wish Foundation Kids – Who They Are

Posted November 18, 2018

(Photos by Caps Outsider)

On November 10, as part of “Hockey Fights Cancer” month, the Capitals hosted a skating session with Make-A-Wish Mid Atlantic. For this event, each kid was paired with a player. This was an incredible experience for the kids, as many of them are fans of the team and have not even skated before.

“Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic is lucky to partner with the Washington Capitals each year to not only grant the wishes of kids who wish to meet members of the team, be a part of the team or have a Capitals team experience – but also as they extensively support wish kids on a broader scale,” said Tara Wilson-Jones, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic.

Here are the kids who skated:

Nicklas Backstrom and Jonas Siegenthaler

Skater: Lucia, who is 5 years old, is a Leukemia patient. She is chatty and outgoing, spending her free time singing, dancing or cooking dinner with her dad. She loves sparkly nail polish and enjoys playing dress up with her sister.


Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos

Skater: Brixton, who is 5 years old, is a cancer patient. She is a playful girl who loves The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. You can often find her outside riding her bike or at her favorite restaurant, Chipotle. On her wish trip to Walt Disney World Resort, she loved meeting Princess Aurora and getting an up-close view of the dolphins at Seaworld. She had her wish granted in August 2018.

Brett Connolly

Skater: Samantha, a 10 year old is an avid Broadway fan. Sam is often writing plays with her sister or auditioning to be in them. Her favorite food is spaghetti, and she loves to practice math! On her Mediterranean cruise(her pending wish), Sam is most excited to try the food in Italy and watch the different performances on board the ship.

Nic Dowd

Skater: Mya, an 11 year old cancer patient. She is enthusiastic, happy and well-spoken. She loves beach activities and watching sports on TV. It didn’t take long for her to decide that her wish is to visit Australia, so she can see the Great Barrier Reef and snorkel with dolphins. Her bubbly and outgoing demeanor are sure to light up any room. 

Lars Eller

Skater: Jason is an 8 year old Leukemia patient. His sense of adventure is made clear through his love for the Magic Tree House books. He loves visiting farmers markets, going to baseball games and playing with LEGOs. He wished to have a pirate treasure hunt on the beach, and as a part of the adventure, he searched for clues that led him to a pirate boat where he found the treasure chest! He had his wish granted in October 2018.


T.J. Oshie

Skater: Michaela, a 5 year old Leukemia patient.Princess-loving Michaela is a huge fan of Elsa and Anna from the movie Frozen. She loves pink and likes to dress up with her friends in her spare time. She wished to go to Walt Disney World® Resort so that she could meet her buddies Elsa and Anna in person. She was so happy to have her one true wish granted, and she was able to feel like a real princess. She had her wish granted in March 2018.

Alex Ovechkin

Skater: Josiah is a 7 year old Leukemia patient. His favorite show is SpongeBob SquarePants, and he loves playing with water guns. On his wish trip to the Nickelodeon Resort in the Dominican Republic, he loved swimming in the pool and getting slimed! His playfulness and sense of humor make every activity an adventure. He had his wish granted in June 2018.

Devante Smith-Pelly

Skater: Lucas is an 11 year old Leukemia patient. He is sweet, friendly and generous. He loves riding his bike, playing with his friends and listening to Kidz Bop. He also loves beaches, dolphins and volcanoes, which made Hawaii a great destination for his wish trip. After having a blast snorkeling and eating at breakfast buffets on his wish trip, he hosted a lemonade stand to raise money for other kids to receive their wishes. He had his wish granted in June 2018.

Chandler Stephenson

Skater: Ryan is a 13 year old lung cancer patient. He loves skateboarding, playing basketball and riding his bike. He also plays the trumpet in his school band and reads Harry Potter in his free time. More than anything, he enjoys exotic car shows with Lamborghinis and Bugattis. He is so excited to tour car factories in Italy and hopes to enjoy his favorite foods, cheese pizza and fettuccini alfredo, while he is there.


Jakub Vrana

Skater: Michael a 9 year old Leukemia patient. He loves playing on the trampoline and using his iPad, but nothing compares to his love for Harry Potter. He has read the books and seen the movies, and, after his one true wish, he will also be able to say he has been to Harry Potter World! His favorite colors are red and blue, and he loves to snack on pretzels and candy corn.


Travis Boyd and Aaron Ness

Skater: Madeline is a 15 year old Leukemia patient.When Madeline learned about Australia in school, she knew she had to check it out. As a lover of wildlife and swimming, she loved spending time visiting a sea turtle rehabilitation center and doing some snorkeling. She was able to see the Great Barrier Reef and had a blast swimming with the sea life. When she’s back home in Maryland, she enjoys watching House Hunters International on TV, shopping at Claire’s and reading books. She got her wish on August 2018.

Tom Wilson

Skater: Angelo is a 5 year old Leukemia patient, When Angelo is not playing puppet shows, he likes practicing gymnastics and watching baseball. His favorite books and movies are anything that has to do with superheroes, and he loves spending time with his family. With his parents and siblings, he visited the San Diego Zoo, Birch Aquarium and San Diego beaches on his wish trip. His wish was granted in July 2018.

Madison Bowey

Skater: Tristan is a 15 year old cancer patient. Tristan is extremely bright and enjoys working on puzzles. He loves Dead Pool, archery and anime. He wished to have a backyard clubhouse so that he could have a space to call his own, where he can play board games and store all his action figures. His favorite dessert is strawberry cake, and he loves snacking on cheese crackers and jerky.

John Carlson

Skater: Megan is a 6 year old Leukemia patient. Megan is an excited and happy girl who loves all types of animals and watches Disney Jr. shows in her free time. Her favorite movies are Frozen and Moana, and she can’t wait to go on her wish trip to Aulani, A Disney® Resort in Hawaii and meet all of her favorite princesses. Megan recently watched Miracle for the first time, and she is so excited to meet a real hockey player in person! Megan, who is a little shy, was all smiles and giggles as we talked to her. She was so excited about skating for the first time and she shook her head vigorously when we asked her if she wanted to come and skate again with Carlson.

Michal Kempny

Skater: Alyssa is a 15 year old cancer patient.  Outgoing, funny and upbeat Alyssa loves riding her bike and playing soccer. She can’t wait to visit Hawaii so that she can attend a luau, see Pearl Harbor and explore volcanoes. More than anything, she wants to spend quality time with her family.  

Matt Niskanen

Skater: Sabareesh is a 15 year old Lymphoma patient. Sabareesh loves playing Madden 17, biking, listening to Travis Scott and going to the pool. He is extremely generous and always has other people’s well-being at heart. He loves to watch Seattle Seahawks games on TV, so he wished to have a Seattle Seahawks experience. On his trip to Seattle, he was able to watch the team practice before attending a game against the Indianapolis Colts. Sabareesh told Capitals Outsider about how Matt Niskanen is now his favorite player. They chat during their skate about football and how both of them play in school. Sabareesh was static and very grateful for this experience. 


Dmitry Orlov

Skater: Caroline is a 17 year old Leukemia patient. Caroline is confident, well-spoken, and outgoing. Her grandparents, who traveled to over 90 countries, inspired her love for the Greek Isles. She is so excited to go on her wish trip to the Greek Isles and spend some time relaxing in the sun. She enjoys playing board games with her family and being goofy.

Brooks Orpik

Skater: Dylan is a 3 year old Leukemia patient. Dylan’s favorite characters are Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Goofy and Mickey Mouse. He is easy-going, likes to ride his tricycle and is a big fan of dinosaurs. He is so excited spend his birthday at Walt Disney World® Resort with his twin brother.

Braden Holtby

Skater: Madeline is a 5 year old cancer patient. Bubbly Maddie loves to play with bubbles, and her favorite color is purple. She enjoys playing with dolls and puzzles, as well as dancing and spending time with her brother. When she’s outside, she likes to ride around in her Jeep! Her favorite movie is Moana, and she was able to experience a meet-and-greet with Moana herself on her wish trip to Aulani, A Disney Resort.

Pheonix Copley

Skater: Ariella is an 11 year old cancer patient. Ariella loves going out for ice cream with her family, but her favorite sweet treat is actually marble cake. She loves the color light blue, listens to Taylor Swift and Katy Perry, and dances tap, ballet, hip hop, jazz and lyrical. In her spare time, she loves riding her scooter, building LEGO kits and listening to live music. She is a great swimmer and was thrilled to see dolphins on her wish trip. She had her wish granted in July 2018.



Wilson-Jones provided more information about Make-A-Wish Mid Atlantic:

“We have been lucky to benefit from “Hockey Fights Cancer” for the last 4 years, which provides mission critical resources for us to be able to grant local wishes. The Caps also have hosted skates and different experiences for wish kids who have long wait times due to medical complication or restrictions, helping us to keep their spirits high while they wait for their one true wish to be granted (this included individual players who have privately donated tickets.) Erin and Brooks Orpik also organize an annual event with our Make-A-Wish staff called Wish Upon A Par ( , where players volunteer their time to support the event and local wishes. Our primary work is actually with the Community Relations team for the Capitals (and secondarily the PR team) and it is an absolute pleasure to work with them. Their sincere commitment to the community and our wish kids is evident and deeply valued by our Make-A-Wish team. The Washington Capitals team and organization as a whole truly demonstrate their support of our mission in so many ways and it is incredibly inspiration and impactful to see this local teamwork to ensure local wishes are granted for children with life-threatening medical conditions. “