"He's such a special kid:" Son of former Badgers player working to make other kids' dreams come true

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- As a college football player, he could out-muscle any opponent. When he found out about his son's disease, he was thrown for a loss. But what the courageous little boy is doing is changing lives.

As a football player, Steve Stark experienced the ultimate high. The offensive lineman was a starter on the Wisconsin Badgers 1994 Rose Bowl team, and he became a team captain.

Twenty years later, Stark is a champion in business. He has been blessed with his wife Miki and four children.

One of those children, Kaden, is a sick little boy.

"When Kaden was diagnosed, we were devastated. It was a difficult time," Stark said.

Nine-year-old Kaden was diagnosed with a rare mitochondrial disease called "Leigh's Syndrome" when he was two. It is a progressive neurological disease that causes progressive loss of mental and movement abilities and typically results in death within a couple of years, usually due to respiratory failure.

In 2011, Kaden and his family were granted a wish by Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. Their trip to Disney World in Florida was a life-changing experience.

"One of the things that he's wanted to do it pay it forward and try and grant wishes to other kids. That's kind of our mission here with Kaden's Wish events," Stark said.

Earlier this month, Champps Americana hosted the third annual "Kaden's Wish" event.

"This event and donating to Make-A-Wish -- that is his thing. That's what he almost lives for. He looks so forward to these events and helping other kids out," Miki Stark said.

With the help of an amazing team, Kaden's Wish has helped to raise over $100,000 and granted wishes for close to 20 sick children.

"I'll tell you what, it's everything. It's the reason we put so much into all we do. I get a tear in my eye every time we talk about it. He's such a special kid that's so inspirational to so many people. It's changed our perspective on life as a family," Stark said.

"I couldn't be prouder. It touches my heart, and I have a tough time holding back my emotions. I watched my son, who was a Badgers football player - very proud. I'm just as proud of this young guy," Kaden's grandpa, Dick Stark said.

"Knowing that he's so passionate about this helps to give us a reason, and it kind of makes sense to put together why maybe this happened. It's almost a blessing in disguise," Miki Stark said.

"He's always gonna be an inspiration to me. He's always going to be an inspiration to our family -- but to know that he's an inspiration to so many other people, I couldn't be prouder of him," Steve Stark said.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Kaden's Wish.

CLICK HERE to access the Kaden's Wish Facebook page.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Make-A-Wish Wisconsin.