Growing up, I’ve always had a fear of reptiles. I’ve tried to embrace them, have had them forced onto my shoulders at children’s events at science centers and endured thousands of lizards during my time interning in Florida. Still, to me, every reptile has the demeanor of an angry crocodile and the reputation of a burmese python – both of which are creatures I’ve never seen but am still terrified of.
It’s always amazing to me that as a 21-year-old I can be so intimidated by reptiles, yet so many kids wish to meet them. Jake is one of those kids. I envy his curiosity and willingness to freely interact with the animals, and wish that I could do the same.
Jake, a vibrant 14-year-old who was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoma, knows that he will earn a Ph.D. in the future. For the time being, he wants to increase his working knowledge of reptiles and learn as much as he possibly can. During his wish, he did just that. From learning all about the animals he interacted with to having the opportunity to feed and care for them.
I will always hold educational wishes in a special place. There’s nothing better than seeing a wish kid work on a goal that they know they will achieve in the future, and seeing how Make-A-Wish will have an impact on that future. I can only hope that Jake meets his goal and exceeds the expectations that he had set for himself – and that maybe someday I'll be brave enough to hold a reptile myself.