World Wish Day

Today is World Wish Day! This event is a celebration in memory of Chris, the child who sparked a global wish-granting movement and the beginning of Make-A-Wish. Since 2010, I’ve had the privilege of volunteering with the wonderful people at Make-A-Wish and witnessing first hand the wishes granted to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

It all started when I read an article about a superhero, Electron Boy, who saved the Seattle Sounders and helped others that day. It was all part of a big wish that Erik Martin, a boy who was fighting kidney cancer, was granted by the Make-A-Wish foundation. You can read all about his story here.

I thought it was incredible that someone fighting a life-threatening medical condition could have a wish come true. What’s so incredible about a wish is that not only do the children get renewed strength from it to fight through their medical condition, but it also strengthens their family through their wish experience.

I looked more into Make-A-Wish and found that it was a solid organization where most of the money they raise goes towards wishes rather than office parties, big salaries, and a lot of overhead that some other non-profits have that I’ve researched. So I volunteered to do photography for them and I’ve been working with their staff for the past five years now. They are all very hard workers and do an excellent job of pulling off some amazing wishes. Below are just a few photos of many wish related events I’ve had the privilege to witness with my camera. make-a-wish-duff-mckaganseattle-mariners-jack-zduriencikmake-a-wish-seattle-thundermake-a-wish-washingtonmake-a-wish-1santa-mail-macy'smake-a-wish-brian-david-caseymake-a-wish-walkwish-walk-seattlewish-walk-make-a-wish

Greg Wong was one of the three founders of the Wish branch in Washington who passed away recently from cancer.
Greg Wong was one of the three founders of the Wish branch in Washington who passed away recently from cancer.

A year after I signed up with Make-A-Wish, I found out that one of the wish recipients I was to photograph was a little girl named Louisa who I had already known for a couple years through my friend, Linda. Linda had told me about Louisa going through a very challenging time. She was fighting leukemia and was spending too much time at Children’s Hospital.

Linda shared a link to a blog post dedicated to her with updates from her father. For about a year via the blog, I got to see day to day what a fight with leukemia was like so that I knew what to pray for specifically. It was heartbreaking interrupted with moments of laughter and funny stories of shenanigans in a children’s hospital. I remember glowing with a smile one day when I saw a photo on her blog of the Seattle Sounders visiting her at the hospital and she was grinning from ear to ear.

Louisa’s wish was to have a special room next to her house filled with a pool table, dart board, and a drum set. Below is a photo of me spending time with her as her wish room was being constructed in her backyard. She had just got through with drum practice at school and was using my head as a drum. Little did I know that she was warming up for playing on her drum set that was going to be placed in the same area where she was standing.

Louisa's wish room, before and after photos. Lower right corner is former Sounder player, Taylor Graham with Louisa.
Louisa’s wish room – before and after photos. Lower right corner is a former Sounder player, Taylor Graham, with Louisa.

Louisa’s transplant was a success and she no longer has leukemia. She is a healthy high school student still drumming away the last I checked!

If you would like to help grant wishes to kids with medical conditions, you can do so through the Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington website. Thank you for taking the time to read about one of my other passions that I have besides photography.