Local realtor donates $5,000 to school Christmas wish project
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A University High School graduate who celebrated his 32nd birthday by asking for contributions to the Make-a-Wish Come True project, which gives Christmas gifts to Waco ISD students in need, chose the 59th birthday of the late soccer coach who launched the project to announce on social media he’ll be donating $5,000.
“Today is Mike Chapman’s birthday and I can’t think of a better time to reveal the final amount in honor of him!” realtor Roman Novian said in a post.
Chapman died unexpectedly in January after suffering a heart attack following a soccer game.
Novian said he launched the campaign on his birthday with a goal of raising whatever he could to help with the program Chapman founded 11 years ago, which started by helping grant the wishes of just a handful of students and grew to granting more than 300 Christmas wishes by last year.
Novian received $4,300 in birthday contributions and then added $700 of his own.
He said he was blown away by the response but not entirely shocked.
"I knew we'd probably have quite a few come in just because Mike was really loved by the community but to see the donations come in, some of them $500 at a time from people who weren't really connected to him," Novian said.
"This was just people in the community that saw that this money was going to go to a good cause and that was a really awesome feeling."
It’s an awesome feeling shared by Chapman’s family, including his younger brother, Kyle.
"When we found out that Roman's own birthday wish was to raise money for the Make-a-Wish Come True project to honor Mike we were deeply touched and then to get this news on Mike's birthday was truly unbelievable," he said.
"This selfless act by Roman will help to ensure that 'Make-a-Wish' and Mike's legacy continue."
Kyle is also doing whatever he can to carry on that legacy.
This summer, he accepted the position of head boys' soccer coach at University High School, filling the shoes of his older brother.
He knows those are big shoes to fill, but he plans to embrace the coaching aspect as well as the countless ways Mike volunteered and had his team pitch-in throughout the community, including granting the Christmas wishes, a tradition he plans to carry on.
"Mike and our family always look so forward to Make-A-Wish because of the kids that benefited and the special time of year it was," Kyle said.
"We can't thank Roman and all who contributed enough. Mike is definitely smiling."
Those who would like to contribute to the Make-a-Wish Come True program may contact University High School.
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