Seventeen-year-old Joseph wished to travel with his family to Hawaii or some other exotic destination to thank them for everything they have done for him during his illness. Hawaii was a perfect choice insofar as it had the exotic allure of a far-away place filled with magic, beautiful scenery and excitement.
During his wish trip, Joseph, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, made an unanticipated discovery. His reaction to the salt water, while learning to surf, took him by surprise. For the first time in his life, he felt healthy. He is convinced that just being free, in the water and breathing the salt water air, was a “mind over matter” experience and he loved it.
There were many other remarkable moments that he will never forget. The helicopter ride all over the big island in Hawaii, for example, was “amazing.” The volcano was pouring out lava which was an adventure he will forever remember. Another exciting discovery for Joseph was the realization that while one side of the island could be perfectly sunny, it could rain in the next minute on the other side.
The entire family enjoyed the carefree and joyful time together on the beautiful island. Joseph recalls how swimming with dolphins in the ocean together with his sister was yet another highlight of his wish trip. He was in awe of these beautiful, gentle creatures and says it was cool to swim with them for half an hour, the boat only being a mile off shore. He found it amazing that the boat found dolphins so close to land. While mom didn’t swim with the dolphins, she was delighted with the endless stories that Joseph and his sister related to her.
Joseph thanks Make-A-Wish for the feelings he had on his wish trip….to feel healthy for the first time in his life…..the confidence he got from doing the things he engaged in … all of it gave him hope to strive for something again and again. Anything is possible now and he cannot thank Make-A-Wish enough for making his dream come true.
Wish-granting volunteer team: Volunteer Marta M. Jedrzejewska and Kelly N. Palma
Wish Story Writer: Lois Schein