By Jennifer McGraw

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — For decades, a local nonprofit has granted wishes for Northern California kids who deserve some extra attention.

You may remember the Sac Ninja that helped save the city last year.

He’s now 6 years old and took on some local celebrities to show his strength, all thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“This is the belt right here that’s on the line,” the announcer told the crowd.

Bryant was getting ready to rumble!

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“Let’s get a huge round of applause and welcome Bryant,” the announcer cheered.

During his first arm wrestling match, Bryant whipped a Kings cheerleader. Her hand smashed right into a plate of whipped cream.

Then, he creamed the Kings mascot, Slamson!

Last, but not least the final round, Sacramento’s UFC champ Urijah Faber!

After a short struggle, Bryant took the lead and Urijah was covered in the game-ending plate of whipped cream.

The crowd cheered as Bryant was awarded a WWE heavyweight belt.

“That was awesome, it was amazing,” his dad Justin Mordinoia.

It’s the latest effort by the Make-A-Wish Foundation to brighten the lives of kids with serious illnesses.

“Make-A-Wish isn’t just a heartwarming experience, but instills a fighting spirit within the kids that have the wishes come true and it takes a lot of people to do it,” Urijah Faber said at his gym he donated for the match in Sacramento.

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Bryant was born with a heart disease but hasn’t let that stop him from fighting crime and his condition.

“How did you win?” his dad asked.

“Because I’m strong,” Bryant piped back.

Monday’s battle in the octagon was actually a bonus in honor of the month-long World Wish Day Campaign, Bryant’s wish to be a ninja and save the city happened last October.

“It was cool to see Bryant come through once again for the city,” Faber said.

Sacramento’s Make-A-Wish has been making dreams come true for 35 years

So how many wishes have been granted?

“We’ve granted a little over 6,300 wishes since 1983,” said Jessica Lehner, spokeswoman for Make-A-Wish.

Each averages $7,500 and happens around 300 times a year locally.

“All of our donations come from individuals and sponsorships and all goes back to the kids locally,” Lehner.

Supporters believe the wishes help kids cope with their illness.

“You can tell that adds to his psyche, which is a big part of fighting illnesses and self-belief,” Faber said.

“Couldn’t ask for anything better,” Bryant’s dad added. “Just to see him smile like you said and to have fun, because there will be times where he’s not able to do this kind of stuff.”

And events like this show how successful kids can be fighting sickness with smiles.

“I know it’s doing good for him just as an individual and probably going to make him fight the better fight,” Faber said.

Bryant’s last checkup went well, but he’ll still have to undergo open-heart surgery, likely in October.

World Wish Day illustrates the imperative role a wish plays in a child’s medical treatment.

Make-A-Wish officials said research shows that a wish can help kids build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness—an eye-opening finding in light of the fact that Make-A-Wish is currently only able to grant the wish of one of out of every two eligible children in the U.S. Join the World Wish Day celebration and change lives for the better.

Jennifer McGraw


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