Angel Unites Rivals, Warms Hearts

December 07, 2009

A 13 year-old girl named Angel Wilson did something few can do; brought the Ducks and Beavers together. She can’t walk or talk, but her laughter united rival Oregon teams before the Civil War game. Angel was born with cerebral palsy. Her father, Billy Wilson, noticed how something about her changed every time she saw the Ducks play on TV. “Every time they came on TV she would begin to smile and laugh,” said Wilson. He doesn’t know if it’s the team’s uniforms, the cheering fans or the Disney-inspired mascot. People caught wind of Angel’s plight and donations from Ducks, Beavers, Cougars, Vikings and fans came pouring in for Angel, who will have major back surgery in January.

Duck fan Ryan Wolfe heard about Angel and organized a drive to send the family on a trip to Oregon to see the Ducks play. “The response has been huge,” said Wolfe, “it just snowballed!” The Ducks covered the cost of tickets, fans covered the cost of airfare, hotel and the family took a vacation to Oregon. The family wanted to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium while they were here and attended the Sea of Lights.

The family, including Billy, Crysta and Angel Wilson, visited the Aquarium Saturday during the Sea of Lights and were treated to a tour and special surprises. Angel was presented with a special gift basket and divers in Passages of the Deep greeted Angel before entering the water and waving to her through the acrylic viewing window. “She really enjoyed seeing all the fish,” said Crysta Wilson, Angel’s mother. “She got to touch a sea star, get her face painted and visit with Santa at the Sea of Lights,” said Wilson.

“We are so pleased that Angel and her family chose to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium on their short and exciting visit to Oregon,” said Gary Gamer, Aquarium President and CEO. “She came at a great time with the brilliance of the holidays on full display here. Angel brought great joy to us with her presence. Indeed, she was the brightest light shining while she was here!”