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Wish Wednesday - Old Cars, New Leases on Life

Billy and his truck
Six years ago, we received an unusual wish. Billy, 17 at the time, was fighting cancer. When he got the chance to receive a Make-A-Wish experience, Billy’s one true wish was also to have his truck customized to be ready for firefighting duty.

People in Billy’s community did more than transform his truck. They also transformed Billy’s life – first, by giving him something other than his illness to think about.

These recent wishes relate to Billy’s. They tell how old treasures can become new hope. 

For some teenage boys, a cool car is everything. JD would agree. He wanted to see his vintage Grand Ville convertible to its full potential, and he had no idea his wish would come true.

JD received the 1978 Pontiac Grand Ville three years ago, after his first car was destroyed in a car crash with a drunk driver.  There was another problem, though – the car sat in a Loogootee barn without being started for roughly 20 years. As if things couldn’t get any worse, JD was also diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma just a few months later.

Life started to get a lot better when JD pulled up at Speedway thinking he’d been set up for a Speedway tour. Race car driver JR Hildebrand greeted JD and offered to take him for a spin around the track. Then, he drove JD up to a garage where his new Grand Ville awaited. 

JD was stunned. His dream car – it was really there, and JD couldn’t help but cry tears of happiness.

“I never imagined the car to be able to look like this,” JD said.

But that’s not it. To top off the wish, JR and JD jumped into the newly restored convertible for a trip around the 2.5-mile oval with JR again at the wheel.

Matt also didn’t have to think very much to name his one true wish. In fact, it was the only one that made his list.

Matt has chronic kidney disease, a congenital condition that involves the continual worsening of his kidney function. He’s had to face it his entire life. Although his kidneys seem to be getting worse, he’s been on the transplant waiting list for two years. That’s why his "old lady," Gladys, is so important to him.

Gladys is Matt’s 1988 Jeep Wrangler ­– the pride and joy he hopes to hand down to his children someday. So, it was no shock she would become the source of his wish – to give her a makeover.

With the help of staff and volunteers at Make-A-Wish and a local auto shop, the Jeep received a customized makeover just as Matt imagined. With a flashy new paint job, tires and wheels, heat-reduction hood, fender flares and a beefed up sound system, Gladys was one awesome customized Jeep.

When Matt lay his eyes on the finishing product of his wish, it was more than a new Jeep. It was a sense of encouragement he needed to stay strong.

About this Blog

Wish Nation gives you a behind-the-scenes look at Make-A-Wish®. See how wishes come together and how they change lives forever. Hear directly from those who work or volunteer here, or those who have been transformed by a wish. And learn why we are so committed to someday granting the wish of every eligible child, every year.

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