Young, Advanced-Stage Cancer Patient Will Realize His Final Dream to See the San Francisco 49ers Playoff Game
Santa Barbara, CA – Dream Foundation – the first and largest national wish-granting organization for adults and their families suffering life-threatening illness – will fulfill lifelong 49ers fan, Felix Vargas’, final wish for the ultimate San Francisco 49ers experience. The Richmond, CA resident – who grew up the sole football lover in a family of soccer enthusiasts – will be present at the NFC Divisional game against the Green Bay Packers 5 p.m., Saturday, January 12.
Vargas, 22, has been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that primarily affects children and adolescents. He received his diagnosis at 17. Now, five years later, he is coping with the additional diagnosis of lung cancer. As his illness has progressed, Vargas has “refused to let it bring me down,” he writes in an application letter to Dream Foundation.
“Knowing I have cancer does not stop me from my hopes and dreams. One of those dreams is to meet and spend time with my most favorite football team in the whole world, the San Francisco 49ers,” Vargas says. “I would like to achieve this wish and have the privilege of meeting the best NFL team. WHO’S GOT IT BETTER THAN US? NOBODY!!”
At 2:30 p.m. game day, Vargas, his brother, brother-in-law and a dear friend will be hosted at the stadium, where they will receive field passes for pre-game warm-up.
In addition, Vargas spent the afternoon Thursday, January 10, at the 49ers practice facility. Donning the jersey of his favorite player, Vernon Davis, Vargas met with players including Davis, Frank Gore, Patrick Willis, Colin Kaepernick and Aldon Smith, who signed a jersey for him. He had lunch and a personal conversation with Coach Jim Harbaugh, who also invited him to the team huddle where he broke down practice.
“It’s a blessing for us, our office, the players and coaching staff to have the platform from which to serve dreamers like Felix,” says Heather Curry, Community Relations Specialist for the San Francisco 49ers. “It’s incredible to think Felix could wish for anything in the world and he wants to spend the day with us. He is focusing on survival, and he’s inspired by his love of the 49ers. It’s such an honor.”
Due to his illness, the side effects of treatment, and mounting medical costs, Vargas – who has been unable to attend a game but has watched every televised game – would never have been able to fulfill his wish without the assistance of Dream Foundation and the 49ers.
“This is the third dream recipient in the past year that the San Francisco 49ers have graciously hosted in partnership with Dream Foundation. When we call, the 49ers don’t hesitate to make dreams happen,” said Dream Foundation representative, Erinn Lynch. “For the dreamers we serve, it’s not just a game. It is a much-needed reprieve from the hardships of illness. It is a joy filled escape with loved ones. The happy memories generated around Vargas’ dream will endure through generations.”
Vargas rejoices in the compassion displayed by his favorite team and is looking forward to sharing the experience with his loved ones. “These past years have been very tough on me but I know I have people who care,” he says. “They surround me and support me 100 percent.”