An incredible new structure brings spectators from far and wide to the city of Bellflower, Calif. But it’s not a towering skyscraper or a breathtaking bridge – it’s a one-of-a-kind spherical fort that stands in 9-year-old Joshua’s backyard.
During his six-month hospital stay receiving treatment for leukemia, Joshua watched the National Geographic TV show “MegaStructures” to pass the time. This documentary on the greatest structures ever built inspired Joshua’s dream to have his own fort.
His father, wanting to give his son something to look forward to, tried to build one himself, but his own health issues paused progress.
So Make-A-Wish® Greater Los Angeles stepped in.
Ron Turner, the chapter’s board member, works for RTKL Associates – an architecture firm, so he organized a design contest at his office to come up with the best fort concept for Joshua. Four amazing designs were constructed, but Joshua selected a spherical fort featuring a drawbridge entryway.
When the plans are all together, Make-A-Wish, RTKL Associates, Turner Construction Co. and 65 volunteers work hard – 12-hour days for three weeks. After each day the secretive blue tarp shields the fort and Joshua stays to true to his promise resisting every urge to sneak a peek.
“I’ve been tempted,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “But every time I’ve wanted to peek, I’ve asked my mom if I can watch TV or play a video game instead. I think I’m going to be surprised.”
But finally the fort walls go up. A nearby high school offers the use of its parking lot to the excited crowd of friends, family and well-wishers ready to share the power of a wish® and see Joshua’s surprise. A city bus company shuttles everyone to Joshua’s backyard as they gather for donated donuts and juice.
While Joshua drives up in a limo the anticipating crowd chants his name. It’s time to party.
The Bellflower mayor presents this over-joyous wish child with a key to the city and the family’s pastor blesses the fort before it’s unveiled.
Joshua can’t wait any longer. The blue tarp is pulled down and awestruck Joshua eyes his 14-foot spherical fort – his wish come true.
Joshua’s wish received the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America’s annual Infinite Wish Award, given each year to a chapter that involved an entire community in making a child’s wish come true.