“On my wish trip, I met other kids battling life threatening illnesses. It was uplifting to know that other people were dealing with the same struggles I was and that I wasn’t alone,” says wish recipient Joshua.
Growing up, Joshua did his best to separate his autoimmune disorder from his identity, but it was difficult at times. His disease made him easily susceptible to many common sicknesses that his friends could handle without a problem, often leaving him feeling isolated and alone.
“From a mom’s perspective, it’s so hard to know that your child will live a life so different than their peers,” said Joshua’s mom, Ede. “Make-A-Wish was a way for us to give him a worry-free experience like other kids had.”
After careful deliberation, Joshua decided he wanted to go to the 2013 MLB All-Star Game in New York with his family.
Joshua grew up watching Seattle Mariners games so he knew that Make-A-Wish often partnered with MLB players and teams, but when Joshua and his family arrived in New York, they were blown away.
“The experience was so humbling; I had no idea how much man-power it took to fulfill a wish until I had my own,”
Meeting so many other kids who wished to go the All-Star game made Joshua feel supported like never before. “I made some great friendships; I’m still in touch with a few of them,” he said.
One of Joshua’s wish-granting volunteers, Esteban, even noted the power of the connections Joshua had made. “The first time I met (Joshua), he was quiet. He came back [from his wish] more confident and carried himself even taller,” Esteban said.
And wishes aren’t just nice; they’re necessary. A 2015 study* on the effects of granting wishes on children with critical illnesses revealed wishes not only increased children’s hope, they were often a key way to improve a child’s quality of life. The wishes allowed children to think beyond the limitations of their illness. “It is possible that wishing enabled children to dream about what seemed unobtainable, out of reach, and thus created an experience of achieving the impossible,” researchers wrote.
For Joshua, his wish filled a place in his life that he hadn’t known was empty. Despite having an amazing support system and managing his illness with poise and maturity, his wish gave him strength like never before.
Since his wish, Joshua played baseball at University of Washington, Shoreline Community College and at Youngstown State in Ohio. He graduated from the University of Washington and is studying to go to medical school one day.
Can you help other kids like Joshua? Right now, there are enough children waiting for their wishes to fill more than seven school buses. Can you help make sure every eligible child receives a wish?
*Shoshani, A. Mifano, K. Czamanski-Cohen, J. (2015). The effects of the Make a Wish intervention on psychiatric symptoms and health-related quality of life of children with cancer: a randomized controlled trial. Quality of Life Research, 25(5), 1209-1218. doi 10.1007/s11136-015-1148-7