Seventeen-year-old Jacob dreams of making a career out of helping others. “He’s a kid who is driven, patriotic and wants to serve his community,” said his mom, Michelle. Jacob serves in his local Police Explorers and in the Sea Cadets, and has always dreamed of serving in the military.
But one day, Jacob’s dreams of serving others had to be put on hold. This time, it was Jacob who would rely on the help of others.
Jacob’s mom noticed he had one really swollen lymph node and took him to get checked right away. After multiple visits to doctors and specialists and months of waiting, Michelle received a phone call that no parent wants to get.
“I got the phone call from his oncologist when I was at work,” said Michelle. He told her it was cancer, and they needed to get Jacob in for treatment that week.
“I had this awful burden where I was the only person who knew what Jacob was about to go through,” she said. “Then having to tell my husband, deal with his grief and anxiety, and then having to sit in the living room, waiting for Jacob to get home, watching him walk in the door and telling him. It was the most difficult conversation we have ever had.”
Jacob started treatment right away. He had eight rounds of chemotherapy and 17 rounds of radiation before him.
Then, a bright spot came. Jake was in his second round of chemo when his family got the news—he would receive a wish, thanks to people like you.
“We had no idea Make-A-Wish was going to come into our lives,” said Michelle. “Right away it created a balance between the shocking diagnosis and this surreal gift. It gave us immediate distraction from our reality and it gave us hope and something we were looking forward to.”
Jacob and his family talked about all kinds of ideas. They wanted to make sure his wish was something meaningful to him, so he chose an experience for his entire family. Jacob wished to go on a cruise.
His family spent a carefree week on the cruise, exactly one year after he had started treatment. They saw new places and experienced different cultures together; they even got a glimpse of history.
“Wishes are important because they give your family hope,” said Michelle. “They give your family something positive to focus on when you’re going through something that is so hard.”
And although Jacob is officially in remission, the effects of his cancer and treatment still linger. During treatment, doctors discovered Jacob was born with only one kidney. This discovery will preclude him from military service, but he still hopes to someday serve his community as a police officer.
“We hold on to what Jacob’s wish gave us, because there are still consequences of the cancer,” said Michelle. “Thank goodness we have the wish to think back on with this blow.”
“No one had to do this for us, but you did,” said Michelle. “We will feel the impact for the rest of our lives.”
Wishes like Jacob’s are made possible because of generous donations from people like you. Right now, more than 500 kids are waiting for their wishes, and we need your support to make their wishes come true. You can donate unused frequent flier miles to send kids like Jacob to the destinations of their dreams.
Special thanks to Royal Caribbean Cruises and wish-granting volunteers Deb Then and Jennifer Nelson for granting Jacob’s wish.