Make-A-Wish Teen announces Chiefs NFL Draft pick

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Meet the teen from Kansas City who got to address millions on a national stage during the 2024 NFL Draft.

Justin Lavergne is learning life can be full of surprises.

“I just see the Chiefs logo flash across the screen with a bunch of yellow-red lights and I’m like, what just happened, and I realized we traded up so I shot up out my seat and was like, ‘oh my goodness, we’re up next,'” he said.

Unlike most fans watching the draft, Justin was actually getting ready to take center stage, and even after that, the surprises kept coming, as he got the chance to Facetime with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

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“I don’t even remember what we talked about,” he said. “I just remember I was there and I’m pretty sure he told me I did a good job. I was just in the headspace of ‘oh my goodness, it’s Andy Reid, oh my goodness it’s Andy Reid.”‘

The lesson of surprises is part of Justin’s story.

When he was 15, he was diagnosed with kidney failure and learned he had a congenital heart defect and had to have open heart surgery.

“I was in and out of the hospital for awhile and I was on dialysis for a year,” he said.

A year later, he got a kidney transplant. His donor, his father.

When I got the call that I was a match, I fell to my knees that day and it was a blessing, so I was over the top excited,” Troy Lavergne said.

Justin’s mom decided to reach out to Make-A-Wish Foundation. He got a tour of Arrowhead Stadium and met Trey Smith.

“I thought Trey Smith himself was the surprise,” Justin said.

Smith was actually the one to tell Justin his wish was going to be granted. He was going to get to announce the draft pick. A secret the whole family, except him and his sister were on.

“I was shocked that everyone around us knew except the two of us,” Hannah Lavergne said.

The whole family made it out to Detroit with Troy finding out he’d also be on stage with his son.

“It was literally 10 seconds before I walked on stage, I was like, ‘I’m going on stage, no speaking parts,”‘ Troy said.

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Another surprise, for this family who has relied on each other and their community’s support through the tough times and blessings.

“The Make-A-Wish, NFL, the Chiefs, they gave us an experience we will never forget and we are so appreciative of that,” mom Kim Lavergne said.

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