Lucas hoped that pain in his leg was just a pulled muscle – or maybe just some growing pains. When it kept getting worse, his parents decided it was time for a visit to the doctor. That’s when they found out it was far worse than they imagined: Lukas had bone cancer.
This was in 2008. After his diagnosis came chemotherapy and the amputation of part of his left leg. For the parents of a 9-year-old boy, this was devastating. But Lucas himself embraced his new normal with the best attitude: He prepared himself for life with a prosthetic leg and asked his doctors to “just make it work the best it could.”
While Lucas was still using crutches to get around, volunteers from Make-A-Wish® connected with him. Their visit was a seed that has grown into a major part of Lucas’ life. Soon, his wish took the shape of a 12- by 24-foot greenhouse. His father, Tom, noticed the difference it made in Lucas’ life.
“It’s been good for him,” he said. “Boys his age are out playing football and baseball and he can’t do those things. But this has given him something he can do and enjoy for a long, long time.”
The Greenhouse that a Wish Grew
Tom couldn’t have predicted the future any better. Growing Wishes Greenhouse is now a thriving roadside stop for locals in search of houseplants, flowers or produce. Watching over all the action is the now 17-year-old Lucas. He earned the title of 4-H junior master gardener. Since Make-A-Wish supporters granted his wish to have a greenhouse, Lucas has overseen the expansion of the original structure with a high-tunnel greenhouse and has plans to add a third greenhouse. He sells his produce at farmers markets, too.
Lucas puts all of his knowledge into Growing Wishes. And he never stops learning: He takes online plant sciences classes to supplement his instinctive knack for horticulture. Lucas even tries his best to keep his operation environmentally friendly by using recycles materials.
More Than a Place to Buy Plants
More than anything, Growing Wishes Greenhouse represents possibility. Years ago, Lucas could’ve withdrawn. He could’ve taken the loss of his leg as a reason to leave behind the things the loved in life.
Instead, Lucas turned to his wish granters for help in permanently and positively altering the course of his life. Their effort – along with the support of others in their community – turned into lasting motivation for Lucas to grow and for his business to blossom.