UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - To say Michael O’Neill is an inspiration would be an understatement. Diagnosed with severe autism at the age of 2, Michael didn’t speak until the age of 7.
Not only did he overcome that major medical obstacle, he also had to endure the sudden loss of his brother, and divorce of his parents.
But meet him, and you’d never know.
Over time, Michael has learned to navigate social situations and maintain an upbeat attitude. Which is partly why he just received a VIP dream from local charity Dream On 3, one like we’ve never seen before. It began at a recent Porter Ridge High School Football game.
Michael O’Neill watched a Dream On 3 representative walk onto the field and take the microphone, then listened as they announced TO HIM, they were about to make his sports dream come true.
“You told us your ultimate sports dream was to meet legendary sports commentator Al Michaels,” DO3 Founder Brandon Lindsey said. “On behalf of Dream On 3, we’re proud to tell you your dream comes true and starts RIGHT NOW.”
Michael screamed, then threw his hands up in the air.
Soon after, he and his family were on a plane, heading to Atlanta for one-on-one time with Al Michaels. They talked for about 15 minutes. Al Michaels personally signed a book of Michael’s – “With much admiration and respect” – before promising to meet Sunday on the sideline for some pre-game conversation.
On the sideline Sunday, Michael – who is known at home as “Mr. Union County” – met cheerleaders, talked stats and then headed up to the announcing booth. A spot very few people are allowed.
There he met Chris Collingsworth as well, and they taught him to use the illustrator to help highlight plays and talk details about the upcoming game.
A once-in-a-lifetime, dream come true.