John has a passion for history – particularly the Revolutionary War. He shares this passion with Anthony, a member of the Lincoln Minutemen and a Revolutionary War re-enactor. Anthony was also one of John’s wish granters. Every Friday for six months, Anthony would give John drumming lessons over FaceTime, to prepare John for his upcoming wish. “I looked forward to Fridays before the wish,” John said.
Right before John’s fourth birthday, he lost his ability to run. His 2-year-old brother was in a stroller, and John would ask to get in the stroller, too. He was getting tired very easily. After he turned 4, John visited his doctor for a well-child check, and his family was told that he might have a neuromuscular disorder. “I didn’t believe them at all,” says his mother, Jackie. “I wasn’t worried, but I said I’d get the tests done.” A week later, she received a phone call from the doctor saying that John was indeed diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder.
Now 14, John has never let his diagnosis bring him down. “I have [a neuromuscular disorder], and I'm 14, and I can't walk. So, I have other things I can do," he told a Boston news station during his wish. For John, this means nurturing a love for history and playing the drums.
United They Stood for John’s Wish
Make-A-Wish® Alaska and Washington surprised John by sending “Paul Revere” on horseback to his school, proclaiming John's wish to be a drummer in a Revolutionary War re-enactment would be granted! But once in rainy Boston, once the day’s re-enactment events were cancelled, neither John, his family, nor his wish granters knew whether he would be able to live out his wish after all.
Then John’s mom, Jackie, received a text from a re-enactor that filled her heart: “We’re still marching.”
A community of Acton, Lexington and Concord Minutemen came together in the cold and the rain to make sure John’s wish came true. Dressed in colonial attire, John was able to watch the Battle of Lexington from VIP seats. Then, he led the Acton Minutemen for two miles to Concord’s North Bridge, tapping his drum and making commands along the way. It was a day that will go down in history for John and his family.
“I was marching with the Acton Minuteman on the old North Bridge, and I was there and playing the drum commands, and they all fired when I played the commands. They call it a ceremonial volley,” he excitedly told an interviewer reporting on his wish. “The best moment was when I gave the commands to the Minutemen and British Regiments with muskets.”
Jackie said she is thankful to Make-A-Wish for the amazing opportunity her son received. “For my kids, wishes represent an opportunity to do something special while they can. I couldn’t make John’s wish happen. Make-A-Wish and the incredible re-enactor community that came together had to make this happen.
“The reenactors were the most loving people,” Jackie added. “They felt like family.”
This Fourth of July, we’re celebrating the wish history made by this group of Revolutionary War re-enactors who were dedicated to granting John’s one true wish – and thanks to all of our wish granters who help transform the lives of wish kids, their families and entire communities every day.
For most children, July is a time to play outside, watch fireworks, relax with friends and family and create happy memories. But for thousands of children who are battling critical illnesses right now, life is instead full of doctor visits, hospital stays and painful procedures. These children need a wish today to give them hope for brighter days and strength to fight their illnesses. This summer, you have a unique opportunity to grant a child’s wish for a treehouse, a therapy pool or a tropical vacation. Together, we can transform lives, one wish at a time. DONATE TODAY
Photo credit: Michael Blanchard Photography