May 16, 2013
• Photo Gallery | More on Darien's Story
MADISON, Wis. -- A four-day effort by the Wisconsin football team to make over a local boy’s room culminated Wednesday night when Darien Moran saw his transformed room for the first time.
Badgers James Adeyanju, Ray Ball, Chris Borland, Tyler Dippel, Josh Harrison, Dezmen Southward and Derek Watt were all on hand for the “room reveal” party, an emotional finishing touch on an inspirational week.
UW football players visited Darien’s room every night from Sunday to Wednesday, assembling furniture, hooking up electronics and playing games with the 14-year-old.
“From the moment the Wisconsin football office heard of Darien’s story, they were on board to help out,” said UW Community Relations Coordinator Kayla Gross. “Despite the fact that many of the players had final exams, they were eager and excited to help in any way that they can. It was evident that they were all in awe of a boy who has overcome so much.”
On Wednesday, as the finishing touches were placed on the room, Watt and Ball invited Darien to Camp Randall Stadium for an exclusive tour. The young man and his family got an inside look at Wisconsin’s newly-renovated locker room and weight room facilities and the new team lounge, where Watt, Ball and Darien engaged in a game of pool with Darien’s uncle, Larry.
“The Make-A-Wish experience with Darien and his family was incredible,” Watt said. “It was an honor to be a part of making his wish come true. Darien is very deserving and is an inspiration for all of us.”
The highlight of Darien’s stadium tour was sitting down with UW head coach Gary Andersen in the coach’s office. He was brought to tears when Andersen invited him to be on the sideline for the first game of the Badgers’ season on Aug. 31 against UMass.
“It’s amazing. I couldn’t wish for anything more,” Darien said. “It’s a dream come true.”