PITTSBURG — Saturday's Pittsburg State University men's and women's basketball games will take on some of the glitz and glitter of Broadway as athletes and fans join in celebrating the granting of a wish for a 7-year-old with a congenital heart condition.
In what is to be a surprise for Lily Clarke of Wichita, Pittsburg State fans and athletes will be hosting a Make-A-Wish Celebration Day during the break between the women's and men's games Saturday afternoon. Her wish is to meet Alfie Boe, the actor playing the role of Jean Valjean in the currently running Broadway play Les Miserables.
That wish is being granted with Lily, her parents, Stephanie and Sheldon Clarke and sister Sophie scheduled to leave on Feb. 3.
The Pittsburg State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will be hosting a Make-A-Wish Wish Celebration Day for Lily Clarke at its basketball against Northwest Missouri on Saturday.
"The Gorillas are asking that all fans coming to the game dressed up as if they were going to a Broadway show, in honor of Lily and her Wish Celebration Day," according to Heidi Johnson, director of media relations and promotions for Pitt State athletics. "This is all being planned by our student athletes. They're really excited about it."
Johnson said the Make-A-Wish event will probably take place about 3 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. But that time could change depending on how long the women's game lasts.
"We really want to promote that it is a black tie game," Johnson said. "We would like as many people as possible to dress up as if they were going to a Broadway show.
"Lily does not know the details of her trip, but Pittsburg State athletes will have the honor of revealing those to her during a Wish Celebration Ceremony," she said. "Athletics will ask fans to take part in the celebration by dressing up and by acting as paparazzi and flashing their phone cameras for our star during her celebration."
Johnson said a group from the university's music department will add an extra dimension to the presentation when they show up to perform some songs from Les Miserables.
Pittsburg State's group earned the honor of hosting a Wish Celebration by raising more than $7,500 for Make-A-Wish during the 2014-15 school year. The group hopes to surpass that amount this year to be able to continue to help grant the wishes of kids in Kansas, Johnson said.
The Pitt State group has the distinction of being the first in the MIAA to raise enough money to host a Make-A-Wish Celebration, she said.
In addition to the Wish Celebration, members of PSU's SAAC will be working to raise additional money for Make-A-Wish throughout the day. Fans will be able to vote for their favorite Broadway themed lip sync battle act, purchase stars to go on the Make-A-Wish Wall of Fame or simply make a donation as they leave the game.
Representatives of Make-A-Wish Kansas will also have a table with information on how to volunteer, additional ways to give and how to refer a child.
Lily is scheduled to be seated with the women's team during the second half of their game
— Mike Elswick is a staff writer for The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @ mike_elswick.