Now imagine you are a kid with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, fibromatosis or polycystic kidney disease - and that rhythm was the one thing that brought you joy. It was the one thing that moved you to fight your illness. With the inspiration of percussion, the beat goes on. The very meaning of music changes, becomes life itself. Every day, every second for a child with a life-threatening illness can be counted down. However, some choose to use their time to count out notes, bars, and measures with a wish.
Some children find the courage to combat their illness through the power of a fat drum solo. Wish kid Ben had a percussion wish, giving him the ability to roll with the punches. Ben’s doctor reached out to Make-A-Wish to refer him for a wish; in 2011, Ben visited the Pearl Corporation, took a tour of its facility and had the opportunity to have a unique Masterworks drum kit built for him. The impact of his wish continues to this day as he pursues his degree in music at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.
For wish kid Wyatt, the thumping and bumping of a top-notch drumline was what he wished for. He said “Band has taught me about self-discipline, perseverance and teamwork.” In 2013, Wyatt wished to attend the Drum Corps International World Championships so that he could see that teamwork in action. He was flown to meet his favorite drum corps, The Cavaliers, as they played the championships. While there, the drumline even taught him their secret handshake. Wyatt hopes to someday audition to join the corps.
One wish kid wanted to share the gift of percussion with his community. In 2014, Stephen gave back, granting new instruments and equipment to the Del Valle High School drumline. Working in secret, the school, Make-A-Wish and corporate donors put the surprise together. They unveiled it to him during halftime of a major varsity football game. His parents tried to talk him into a trip to the Bahamas, but Stephen was resolute. He insisted that the drumline was more important than himself. He cried tears of happiness as his gift was revealed on the midfield. Of his bandmates, Stephen said, “They are like my little brothers and sister, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them.”
The rhythm of life pulses through these wish kids. The beat comes not only from their hearts, but from their souls. They march in cadence over their obstacles. Despite the challenges, these wish kids are just waiting for the chance to show the world their percussive arts – and that the impact of a wish lasts longer than many people can imagine.