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Beloved Special-Needs Contestant Rocks Wheel of Fortune

updated 05/02/2014 AT 09:00 PM EDT

originally published 05/02/2014 AT 02:20 PM EDT

On Wednesday night, 21-year-old Trenton Girone's appearance on Wheel of Fortune quickly made him a fan favorite. According to ABC News, the special-needs contestant had overcome many obstacles, including nine brain surgeries and one heart surgery, before landing a shot at spinning the wheel on his game show of choice.

Girone, who has been diagnosed with Asperger's and Tourette's, has been a fan of the long-running quiz show since he was a toddler. As he wrote in his official blog post for the show, he had spent years trying out every possible avenue to get on Wheel of Fortune. Finally, after solving the phrase "L'Eggo My Eggo" at a Wheelmobile event in March 2013 and passing through the subsequent audition program, he received word that his dream would finally come true.

"I watched every episode of the show I could, including Saturday morning reruns," Girone wrote in his blog. "I also played the game on every available platform as often as possible."

Girone's episode taped on February 27 and aired Wednesday night. Though some unlucky spins meant he didn't win, his passion and knowledge of the game were obvious.



"I want to thank all the contestant staff for taking the time to help me and would like to thank Pat Sajak for his assistance as well," he wrote. "February 27, 2014 was one of the BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE!"

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