If Ann had to pick one word to describe her experience as a volunteer with Make-A-Wish, it would be “humbling.” As a volunteer wish granter, she speaks with kids to find out their one true wish, and then she makes those dreams come true. And even though every wish kid makes an impact on volunteers like Ann, sometimes a certain wish kid just knocks you off your feet with their generosity.
Enter Cody, a 17-year-old from 29 Palms, Calif. He has both a neurological disorder and cystic fibrosis and has dealt with a lot for his age, including homelessness. Though he now lives with his grandparents, his past experiences have molded him into the person he is today.
Just like Ann, Cody has a volunteer’s spirit. Perhaps because he himself has lived through hardship, Cody dedicates his free time to making blankets, scarves and care packages for those in need.
When Ann interviews Cody, she is taken aback by his wish. Out of anything in the world, he wishes for a craft and game room. The craft aspect of the room would be his place to continue his projects to help the homeless community. Cody also wants the room to be a place where he can hang out with his cousins. Blown away by his compassion, Ann knows that she has to do everything in her power to make this wish come true.
Crafting the Perfect Room
Ann arrives at Cody’s house on July 16. She will be working alongside Cody’s friends and family today as well as the other volunteer wish granters to transform his garage into a creative haven. It won’t be easy, but she knows that her one day of hard work will provide Cody a lifetime of memories.
Putting together Cody’s room takes some muscle. The sweltering heat of the Mojave Desert fills the garage air as Ann creates a space that Cody can call his own. Side-by-side with his friends and family, she assembles the furniture for the room. Once the nuts and bolts are in place, they begin decorating. They hang art on the walls, connect a game set and build a craft area complete with a new sewing machine; after a few hours, the room is finally ready.
At the end of the day, everyone is tired (and sweaty), but joyful. Now, all they can do is hope that the room is everything Cody imagined.
There is little time to doubt. When Cody sees his new room, he immediately starts beaming. “I’m so happy,” he shares. Ann and the other volunteers start to get emotional seeing the tangible impact the room has on Cody. They know the wish will give Cody just the boost he needs to move toward positivity and improved health.
Indeed, Cody is beyond radiant. After seeing his game and craft room, he is more inspired than ever to help people who are homeless and the other patients in the hospital. Ann can’t help but feel motivated by Cody’s drive and hopes to incorporate that level of compassion into her own life. “We are truly touched to have been a part of this experience,” she writes.