As an electric-like atmosphere of support for the Toronto Raptors envelops the streets of Toronto and beyond, inside the walls of the Hospital for Sick Children Thursday night’s game had special meaning for its patients — including a boy on the verge of his ninth birthday.
Tachari Green turned nine on Friday. Going into his birthday, Green had a special wish.
“It would be great if the Raptors win for my birthday present — that would be great … Go Raptors go!” he said in a video taken in his hospital room and posted online by SickKids Thursday afternoon.
Well, that wish came true later in the day. In the team’s NBA Finals debut, the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 118-109 at the Scotiabank Arena.
When asked on Friday about the victory, Tachari’s reaction was simple.
“Great!” he told Global News, while sporting a huge smile.
Although he loves the Raptors, Tachari said he does have a favourite player — guard-forward Danny Green.
“His last name is Green and my last name is Green too, and he’s a very great player,” he said.
Simone Green, Tachari’s mother, told Global News she was shocked when she heard her son’s wish.
“I was kind of hoping that they were going to win, but in the back of my mind I was like, ‘Well, you know,'” she said.
“They will win!”
The playoffs run has been a welcome distraction for Tachari. He currently attends SickKids four days a week to receive three-to-four-hour dialysis treatments and although he said he feels “fine,” Tachari also has another wish.
“Someone please find me a kidney,” he quietly said.
Simone said so far Tachari is holding up. But his illness has been hard for her family.
“He’s been a good sport about it. He’s a trooper. So far his spirits are still up considering,” she said.
“It’s very hard. It’s very unexpected. Nobody wants any child to endure such sickness … It kind of shook my world, of course, because I was in school and I had to drop out.”
Simone said with Tachari’s higher level of antibodies, it’s proving more difficult to find a matching donor. She said the family received a call in March, but since Tachari was sick he was unable to have the procedure.
During the dedication of the NBA Cares Learn and Play Centre at Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre in Toronto’s east end, Danny heard about Tachari’s current health situation and had a special birthday greeting for him.
“We wish you were here, man. Sorry you couldn’t make it. We hope you feel better,” he said.
“Happy ninth birthday, Tachari. Hope to see you soon, man. Continue to keep supporting us and hopefully we’ll continue to make you proud and win some more games. Get healthy!”
Meanwhile, Simone said they will keep cheering on Danny and the Raptors. She said Tachari wants to see the team play one day, but added it might have to wait a little bit due to the high cost of tickets currently.
— With files from Caryn Lieberman