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Make-A-Wish families attending All-Star Week

@alysonfooter
July 7, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Among the dozens of players and thousands of fans who will be making their way to downtown Cleveland for the 90th All-Star Game on Tuesday will be four very special guests of Major League Baseball and the host Indians. • All-Star Game presented by Mastercard: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

CLEVELAND -- Among the dozens of players and thousands of fans who will be making their way to downtown Cleveland for the 90th All-Star Game on Tuesday will be four very special guests of Major League Baseball and the host Indians.

All-Star Game presented by Mastercard: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX

Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, four young baseball fans and their families have traveled to Cleveland to attend the Midsummer Classic, and all of the star-studded festivities leading up to the game. The guests of honor -- Jonathan, 12, from Beverly Hill, Mich.; Zachary, 10, from Ruskin, Fla., Sawyer, 17, from Graniteville, S.C., and Cannon, 15, from Camas, Wash. are receiving first-class accommodations and a close-up view of every event taking place at Progressive Field.

It began with All-Star Sunday, which includes the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and the Celebrity Softball Game. The kids watched from their own special suite, and then dropped by Rob Manfred’s suite for a meet-and-greet with the Commissioner.

"We love having you at the All-Star Game," Manfred told the group during a lengthy conversation during the Futures Game. "We have three or four Make-A-Wish kids every year and it's great. It's great to see young people that want to be at an All-Star Game. It's really fun for us."

Manfred posed for pictures, signed autographs and gave each child a goody bag filled with game programs, baseballs and other All-Star memorabilia.

The Make-A-Wish guests will have similar suite accommodations as the week progresses. Next up: Monday’s T-Mobile Home Run Derby and Tuesday's All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard.

"It's been a lot of fun," Cannon said during a welcome reception at a downtown hotel Saturday night, adding that he's wanted to attend an All-Star Game since he was 9. "I haven't traveled in a long time, so that experience has been fun, and more the fact that I'm going to an All-Star Game."

Make-A-Wish grants approximately 16,000 wishes a year. Over time, the foundation, in conjunction with MLB, has granted approximately 100 wishes related to baseball.

"We deliver hope when it's needed most," said Doug Kelly, president and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Ohio/Kentucky/Indiana chapter. "We give courage to kids to fight to next week, to next month and next year. That's what we do. Without Major League Baseball, without the Indians, without our players, we couldn't deliver that hope at all."

Dignitaries in attendance at Saturday’s reception included several executives from MLB and the Indians; Luis Clemente, son of baseball legend Roberto Clemente and three Major League prospects who participated in the Futures Game -- Daniel Johnson (Indians), Jarred Kelenic (Mariners) and Jarren Duran (Red Sox).

"I don't know what it's like to go through what they're going through," Johnson said. "To put myself in their shoes, and entertain them and take their minds off things, it's nice. There's days I want to take my mind off certain things too, and I do certain things to do that. To come out here and mingle with them and make them feel good, it's a blessing."

For Sawyer, a Red Sox fan, meeting Duran, one of Boston's top prospects, was a thrill. Meeting Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez is also a long-term goal.

Mostly, Sawyer is just ready to take in whatever experiences come his way as a special guest of MLB.

"I've been through a lot. It feels good that they're doing something nice and giving us this trip," he said. "I'm grateful for it."

At the beginning of the reception, Clemente, whose father's lasting legacy is one of community service, thanked the kids for coming to Cleveland for the All-Star festivities.

"I told them that it's great that they chose the Major League Baseball All-Star Game as their wish," Clemente said. "Because they're going to have the greatest time of their life."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.