It would be almost impossible to forget the games Martin played on these baseball fields since the age of 6. And he knew how much the fields mean to his community.
The 14-year-old boy was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer last fall. As his condition worsened, he told Make-A-Wish he wished to offer neighborhood kids a more inviting field to play.
His message was simple: to give in some way to make things better. Because of his selfless wish, everyone who visits the fields will remember his presence.
Although Martin’s journey ended before the renovations were finished, a painting of him suggests that he will be an icon for every other young baseball player who steps into the batter's box.
"It's a situation where you can't even walk up and not shed a tear," John, Martin’s father told a local news channel. “Just remembering him on the field.”
Jonathan, like Martin, also could have wished for anything. But even with his own battles, he could only think of using his wish to help those he felt really needed the help. Jonathan wished to buy an irrigation system for an orphanage in Zimbabwe, Africa, that he had visited while on a mission trip with his parents in 2005.
In 2008, when Jonathan was 17, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. When he was given the opportunity to have his wish granted, he immediately knew what his wish was going to be: to help the boys at the orphanage.
The boys carried large buckets of water far out into the fields just to water the plants. Now, the children’s home has a 20 acre irrigation system in place to grow crops and feed the orphans and workers.
“Jonathan sadly lost his battle with cancer, but left a lasting wish for the little boys he loved so much and taught all of us the true power of a wish,” Jonathan’s mother wrote in a letter.
It never ceases to amaze me the power of one selfless act, of one true wish used to make a community better.