In June 1985, sweet 5-year old Jennifer was granted her wish to become a nurse. Having battled Cystic Fibrosis since birth, Jennifer grew up to admire the nurses who loved and took care of her everyday of her life. A volunteer hand-made Jennifer’s nurses outfit for her big day- a local nurse donated her own nurse’s cap for Jennifer to wear. An official “Capping ceremony” was held at a local college where Jennifer was given a bouquet of red roses and her very first patient to take care of- a teddy bear with a bandaged leg. Her mom, Carolyn, recently reached out to us and shared more about the impact Jennifer’s wish had on her young life. “From that day on she was “Nurse Jennifer- Pediatric Hostess”. It was her “job” to go and visit the new kids and show them around. She had a little red wagon in her room with her toys and she would take her wagon around and let the other kids have one of her toys. The nurses saw what she was doing and made sure that there were always toys in her wagon. Her doctor would call her at the hospital and ask her if she could do rounds with him and she would put on her nurses uniform and go with him as he checked on his young patients… Wishing Star made such a difference in her life. It is amazing where Wishing Star has gone since that day. Thank you!!!”. Young Jennifer passed away in 1987, just 2 years after her wish was granted. What an amazing impact she had in this world!
In 1983, 7 year old Patrick was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma cancer. Wishing Star was a newly founded organization, with only 3 wishes having been granted. Patrick passionately wished to go to Disneyland. In May 1984, just after his 8th birthday, his parents, two brothers, and baby sister joined him on his wish trip to California!
It has been over 30 years since Patrick’s wish. Sadly, Patrick passed away only 9 days after returning from his wish trip. This Fall, Wishing Star had the opportunity to reconnect with Patrick’s parents and sister over lunch. Patrick’s parents, Floyd and Nancy, shared how much of an impact the wish still has on their family all these years later. They shared how Disneyland had opened the park just for them so they could have breakfast with the characters. Patrick was able to ride on his favorite attraction– Pirates of the Caribbean over and over again. Wishing Star even had a plane lined up at the local military base in case Patrick needed to be transferred home in an emergency. Even through all the pain, Patrick had an amazing time on his wish and would not stop talking about it to anyone who would listen!
Patrick’s sister, Marissa, shared how much meeting with Wishing Star 30 years later meant to their family. “Thank you so much for the opportunity to reconnect and share our memories; it was wonderful! The work you do is so important and touches so many people….for a lifetime! We are feeling grateful, blessed, and very, very FULL!”
Since Patrick’s wish to go to Disneyland, 1,244 other children with life-threatening illnesses have received the power of a wish. “It is really heartwarming to reconnect with a family whose lives we touched over 30 years ago,” stated Brittany Bergsson, Development Director. “You know that your investment in Wishing Star is important and makes a difference, but to have a family after 30 years, continue to express how thankful they are to our organization– it just goes to show that your donation toward a wish is not just 7 days in Disneyland, your donation is a lifetime of memories and happiness.”
As of December 2014 Wishing Star has 13 children in the process of having their wishes granted. The impact of a wish is something that will remain long after the holidays are over. This holiday season, you have an amazing opportunity to help change the life of a child and their family– forever. We need your help to make sure that EVERY child receives the magic of a wish. Please consider changing a child’s life and making a donation today.
To donate, CLICK HERE.
A few months ago we put out a call for help in granting an expedited wish. Sheldon’s osteosarcoma was taking its toll and his hope and spirits were low. Sheldon’s wish to customize his truck was granted on Saturday, May 17 only one week after he was told his cancer was terminal. With the help of Custom Truck in Spokane and many wonderful donors, he received a bumper/grill, light bars, steps, air intake system, stereo, and more!!
For a moment in time, Sheldon was able to just be a 20 year old boy again and not worry about cancer. At one point he even grabbed his new bumper and said, “All I know is I can pretty much hit anything with this now”. Due to the progression of the cancer, Sheldon lost the use of both his legs the day before his wish was granted. His best friend Robbie was there to chauffeur Sheldon away from his party in style. Sheldon was not about to let cancer stop him from enjoying his new ride and hand controls were installed shortly after. He is now driving his own truck with his friends and family.
To top off a very touching weekend, Sheldon married the love of his life, Athina the day after his wish was granted- embracing life to the fullest.
Quinn has Mitochondrial Disorder, a disorder in the part of the cell that sustains energy and promotes growth. This illness has a very high fatality rate. Three year old Quinn’s wish was to go to San Diego to play in the warm water and ride in a helicopter! He and his family enjoyed a week of sunshine, warm water, a helicopter ride, swimming with dolphins and so much more!
“You know it’s not good news when your child’s neurologist calls you and is in tears,” said Quinn’s mother, Magdalena. “And when you have a kid who is that sick- who can go from playing in the backyard to needing to be in the emergency room in a matter of seconds, you start to narrow their world because you want to keep them safe. I can change a feeding tube in 30 seconds, I can manage medication lists, and I can argue with any medical personnel on the planet and not back down- what I had forgotten was how to have fun with my kids.”
“Every day of our trip we had this blue wish notebook. My kids called it the book of awesome because every single day was something new that was amazing and wonderful. When we came home we made a commitment as a family that we were going to carry on the lessons we learned during Quinn’s wish trip- to have fun together as a family. I want Quinn’s life to be a celebration, and our job is to love him until it’s time to let him go.”
“I really want to thank Wishing Star because they gave us a chance to play with Quinn and to really see him as not being a little boy with a collection of diagnoses, but as a person. Every moment with your kids is irreplaceable- it will never come back…I see a difference in Quinn, and I see a difference in all of my kids.”