TBT: Chico State athlete looks back on Make-A-Wish event


Four-year-old Davan Jones receives her gift as student athletes look on. Photo credit: Jordan Olesen

I stood alongside my peers on the Nettleton Stadium baseball field anticipating the arrival of a very important four-year-old girl. I was surrounded by fellow student athletes who were all there for the same magical reason, to grant a wish.

Every other year, the Chico State Student Athlete Advisory Committee grants a wish to a local child through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Davan Jones, a young girl battling severe health complications, was granted her wish of traveling to Disney World to meet her favorite Disney princesses.

Davan Jones receives her present while meeting some of her princesses. Photo credit: Jordan Olesen


Witnessing Davan meet two of her favorite Disney princesses in front of a large crowd of people was an experience I will never forget. Watching her interact with two of her biggest role models and gratefully accepting the gift to travel to Disney World was especially rewarding since I played a role in making it a reality.

As a student athlete, I was honored to take part in such a humbling event. Chico State athletics emphasizes development of its athletes into well-rounded individuals apart from our sport through experiences such as this. Constant reminders that I exist outside of the gym are grounding and much appreciated.

These experiences serve as reminders that we can positively impact others through our words and deeds. Moving through these four years in university athletics keeps us actively participating in public philanthropy and goodwill.

Four-year-old Davan Jones shares her excitement that she will be going to Disney World. Photo credit: Jordan Olesen


Another respectable aspect of Wildcat athletics relates to the notion of family. Walking up and down the halls of Acker Gym on game day is one of the best feelings as an athlete. We are proud to represent each and every person at Chico State.

With this sense of community comes a cycle of participation where the public continues to love and be loved. Davan’s parents, Leanne Jones and Arica Stiliha, are both Chico State alumnae. Leanne Jones played Wildcat softball and was especially grateful to witness the Wildcat family give back through charity benefitting her daughter.

I will never forget the look of joy on Davan’s face when her wish was revealed. I was inspired and grateful for my role in giving this experience to a young girl surrounded by her friends, family and community. We look forward to Davan’s opportunity to continue the Wildcat legacy.

Anna Baytosh can be reached at [email protected] or @anna_baytosh on Twitter.