The Ones We Carry - Exploring the Impact of a Wish
It did not take long to realize that, like myself, many working or interning at Make-A-Wish carry a story or a person with them, one that inspires them to want to work for this organization.
In middle school, my friend Jordan was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma. Until this point in my life, I was under the impression that cancer only affected older people. It was extremely hard to grasp the fact that my friend, who was not even a teenager yet, was fighting a battle against cancer. But despite the hardships that Jordan faced during his four-year battle, his joy, his sense of humor, his outgoingness and his love for others never ceased.
I remember his mom telling me that when Make-A-Wish asked Jordan what he wished for, he was so astounded that people wanted to do this for him. He didn’t understand what he did to deserve a wish. He had such a huge heart that he believed his wish-granters were the ones who actually needed a wish – not him.
In February of 2006, Jordan had his wish granted: he and his family flew to Hawaii to attend the NFL Pro Bowl. During their trip, they visited Pearl Harbor, hiked Diamond Head and toured the Dole Pineapple Plantation. They spent relaxing afternoons at Hanauma Bay Beach, where they were able to swim and snorkel. One evening, they were even treated like royalty at the Paradise Cove Luau. But without a doubt, Jordan’s favorite part was attending the NFC and AFC team practices before the Pro Bowl. He received an NFC and AFC Pro Bowl football that the players signed, and, as a huge Dallas Cowboys fan, his day was made when he received a signed practice glove from one of the Cowboys’ players!
Jordan’s wish trip definitely enriched his last few years of life. To this day, Jordan’s mom raves about how Make-A-Wish went above and beyond in making their trip stress-free. It was the memory of a lifetime, she says.
Jordan lost his battle to cancer three years later in 2009, the summer before our senior year of high school. I was heartbroken. It took me a really long time to grasp that he was gone, and although I was upset and frustrated with the disease that took his life, I was encouraged by his joy. Five years later, his memory continues to live on through his family and friends. Jordan’s story definitely touched my life – it has directed my career. My memories of him drive my dreams and passion for working at a nonprofit, and making wishes of children like him come true.
After seeing how Jordan’s wish impacted his life and his family’s life, I deeply believe in the Make-A-Wish mission. To say that I am blessed to have the opportunity to intern for an organization so near and dear to my heart, is an understatement. And I’m honored to carry Jordan with me.