Tab Bamford, August 2, 2014

The 2013-14 academic year was a big one for Carly Mercer and Charles Torwudzo.

In the pool, Mercer had a great season. She set a new Purdue record in the 100 freestyle and qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second time.

On the gridiron, Torwudzo moved from wide receiver to tight end and appeared in five games for the Boilermakers.

At the end of the year, however, the two were honored for their achievements off the field and out of the water, respectively.

?I was in a family studies class talking about disabilities,? Mercer said. ?We watched a television show about [Elena Della Donne]?s story and the impact she made while in college, and asked, ?Why don?t we do that here at Purdue???

The result of that question was the birth of the Boiler-Maker-Wish foundation last summer. Mercer and Torwudzo, with the help of four other student-athletes, wanted to help enrich the lives of kids with moderate to severe physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses. The six members of Purdue?s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) - representing five different intercollegiate sports - founded a new organization on campus to make an impact.

?Initially, we started with FCA,? Torwudzo said. ?The coaches and athletic department recognize that organization, and when we launched the program, everybody was on board. When there was a football wish, I talked to Coach Hazell to set up a good day and time.?

During their seasons, the students were able to grant eight wishes for local kids, ranging from spending time with the women?s swim team to shooting hoops with the men?s and women?s basketball teams.

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Heading into the new school year, there will be new faces involved with Boiler-Maker-Wish and more wishes to come true.

?We?re recruiting athletes on our teams this summer, and there have been athletes approaching us about carrying on the organization moving forward,? said Torwudzo.

All six of the founders of Boiler-Maker-Wish were recognized for their community service with Golden Pete Awards from the John Purdue Club. However, Mercer noted that the experiences with the recipients themselves were the most gratifying.

?The wishes being made and spending time with the kids is really rewarding,? she said. ?You can tell the families enjoy being there.?

For more information about Boiler-Maker-Wish, visit their Facebook page.

To apply to have a wish made by the Boiler-Maker-Wish group, complete this application.