Jalan Sowell, who has chronic pulmonary embolism, had his wish granted as part of the 12th season of the award-winning ESPN “My Wish” Series. Since its beginning in 2006, the series has fulfilled more than 60 sports-themed wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.
Sowell, who was a football player for Mt. Juliet High School until his condition all but ended his playing career, wanted to produce and be the subject of an inspirational ESPN feature for his wish. His story will debut in the midnight edition of SportsCenter on Thursday, following ESPN’s telecast of a Major League Baseball game, and will re-air in other editions throughout the day on Thursday. He will also be live on the morning edition of SportsCenter between 8-9 a.m. Thursday before he and his father, James, return home later in the day.
A Make-A-Wish watch party with his Golden Bear teammates will be held at their facility behind the school beginning at 7:45 a.m.
Sowell’s feature was partly shot at a 7-on-7 football camp at Tennessee Tech two weeks ago and was completed Tuesday at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn., with series host Chris Connelly.
“Jalen’s personality is infectious,” said Dale Mauldin, producer of the feature for ESPN. “Any time that we were around him, we felt this upbeat energy. He was given maybe 10 minutes’ notice from the director of the football camp that they were at to tell his story to them as part of the (My Wish) reveal and he did it amazingly. You could see in the crowd that he was inspiring people. His presence comes through really well on camera.”
ESPN works together with the Make-A-Wish children’s charity on the annual series. Athletes in this year’s series include Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick and members of the Los Angeles Dodgers.