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Wish Stories

The Wish that Started a Global Movement

Make-A-Wish® is the legacy of Chris Greicius, a 7-year-old boy from Phoenix who was diagnosed with leukemia.  More than anything else, he wished to be a police officer.

In the spring of 1980, Tommy Austin, who was a US Customs Agent and family friend, decided he wanted to do something special for Chris.  He reached out to some friends at the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and together they made Chris’ wish to become a police officer come true.  Chris was sworn in as an honorary officer, received his very own uniform, badge and battery powered motorcycle just his size, took a helicopter ride, and more.  Sadly, just a few short days after his wish was granted, Chris passed away.  He received a full police funeral. 

Chris’ story brought so many people together.  And these people, realizing how many other sick children there were out in the world, wanted to keep spreading the joy that Chris got to experience in his final days.  As a result, Make-A-Wish was born. 

The first official wish was granted the following year in 1981 to an 8 year old boy named Frank “Bopsy” Salazar who wished to go to Disneyland. 

Click here to meet the friends and family that made Chris’ wish come true!

Wish Kid Parker

I wish to be a zookeeper!

Parker has always been wild about animals. When Parker was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, his stuffed animals kept him company during long hours of doctor appointments and treatments. He knew without a doubt that for his wish, he wanted to become a zookeeper. A limo took Parker and his family to his first day on the job, where he received his official zookeeper uniform and name badge. He spent the afternoon touring the zoo, going behind the scenes of the habitats and feeding and taking care of the animals, just like he’d hoped.

After the wish, Parker’s mom said that one of the scariest parts of Parker’s treatments was watching his personality disappear a little bit. It was clear after a day of being a zookeeper, Parker was back to his outgoing, excited, smiling self.

Click here to see Parker's wish come true!

Wish Kid Lindsey

I wish to have a golf cart!

Lindsey, with her infectious smile and sweet disposition, has an affinity for nature and a huge love of her family. Diagnosed with an uncontrollable seizure disorder, Lindsey suffers from daily episodes that are unpredictable and progressive. When presented with the possibility of a wish, Lindsey immediately knew she wanted something to help her spend more time outside with her family. Mirroring the one she rode at her grandparent’s house, Lindsey wished for a golf cart. Personalized to her taste and medical needs, Lindsey’s golf cart is anything but average. Allowing her to spend more time in nature alongside her family, her golf cart has a racing strap inside to secure her, a shiny, purple exterior, and a Tigger decal bouncing around on the side. The memories to be made and adventures to be had because of Lindsey’s golf cart that allows her to move around more freely are sure to be cherished for a lifetime!

Wish Kid Davis

I wish to meet Stitch!

Eight-year-old Davis has faced significant health challenges throughout his life including being diagnosed with an immune system disease. Due to his severe allergies, Davis has never been able to eat in a restaurant or go on a vacation. Davis couldn’t wait for his one true wish where he could go to Disney World® and eat in a restaurant with his favorite character, Stitch, from Disney’s “Lilo and Stitch.” While at Disney World, Davis and his family stayed at Give Kids the World Village® where they were comfortable in a place that felt like home while being surrounded by the excitement of Disney. Davis’ favorite part of the trip was his visit to ‘Ohana’s Best Friends Breakfast, where he was greeted by his favorite character Stitch. Davis’ eyes lit up the moment Stitch walked to their table and wrapped him up in a huge hug. During the trip, Davis said, “This experience made me feel a bit more like other kids.”

Wish Kid Sparrow

I wish to go to Disney World®!

Like many four-year-old girls with vibrant personalities, Sparrow is very adventurous and full of life. However, what sets Sparrow apart from most children her age is that she has a congenital cardiac condition which can cause her to get tired easily. When presented with the idea of a wish, Sparrow immediately knew she wanted nothing more than to go to Disney World® to meet the princesses and play with Sully from Monsters, Inc. While at the park, Sparrow and her family stayed at Give Kids the World Village®, a resort specifically for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Her favorite part of the trip was meeting many of the Disney® characters including Buzz Lightyear, Mary Poppins, Stich, Goofy and of course, her all-time favorite, Sully. Sparrow’s wish trip to Disney World brought her and her family a week of smiles, laughs, and memories they will cherish for years to come. Together, Disney, Give Kids the World and Make-A-Wish® Central & Western North Carolina were able to bring happiness, comfort, and support to Sparrow and her family at a time when they needed it most.

Wish Kid Trey

I wish to be a Carolina Panther!

Trey is what many describe as a crazy sports fanatic, especially for his favorite team, the Carolina Panthers. Since he was young, the “Keep Pounding” mantra of this team has always rung through Trey’s ears. However, after Trey was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the mantra meant something even greater to him – it gave him the strength to keep fighting. When it came time for Trey’s wish, it was a no brainer that he wished to be able to step out of his life for one day and become a professional NFL player for the Carolina Panthers. On the day of his wish, at Bank of America Stadium, Trey was asked to sign a one-day contract and was then given his very own personalized jersey. After Trey was all geared up, he walked out to the field and spent the afternoon learning plays, running drills, and catching and throwing balls. Practice wrapped up with Trey and the team shouting the “Keep Pounding” mantra. “The guys have embraced him like he’s one of them,” said Trey’s mom.

Wish Kid Jason

I wish to have a greenhouse!

What started off as an ordinary day for 11-year-old Jason became a day he and his family would never forget. Jason was diagnosed with leukemia and in only a matter of days, Jason’s life completely changed.

After his diagnosis, waking up for school every morning was replaced with hospital visits and treatments. He was no longer able to do the things he enjoyed like going to videogame camp or even eating fresh fruits and vegetables. His mom was a Chi Omega sister in college and had learned all about Make-A-Wish as their national philanthropy. She decided to refer her son and during the difficult hours spent in the hospital, having a wish was something exciting for him to think about. Since he was a toddler, Jason has had a blueberry bush in his backyard. He loved going into the backyard and picking fresh blueberries; however, the animals would always get to the fruit before he could. For his wish, Jason knew he wanted a greenhouse to protect his blueberries.

When Make-A-Wish supporters at Metrolina Greenhouse heard about Jason’s wish, they couldn’t wait to jump in and help make it come true.  Over the next few weeks, the team at Metrolina Greenhouse worked to prepare Jason’s backyard for the wish.  Jason had no idea that while he was in treatment, he had a surprise waiting for him at home.

When Jason arrived home, friends, family, and the Metrolina Greenhouse and Make-A-Wish team, were gathered in his backyard chanting his name. He walked to the backyard and approached the curtain hiding his greenhouse. When the curtain was pulled back and Jason saw his wish, he was immediately overcome with happiness and excitement.  Jason’s mom said, “He had the most amazing day and was completely surprised and appreciative of all that was done for him.”

Click here to see Jason’s wish come true!

Wish Kid Braylon

I wish to be Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers!

Braylon could be described as the Panthers’ number one fan. When given the opportunity to have a wish granted, he knew immediately it would be to coach his favorite football team.  The night of his wish started by meeting his associate coach, Ron Rivera in the locker room to put on his official coaching gear. Once he looked the part, Braylon went on to his official press conference where he confidently announced the Panthers would be winning the Super Bowl that year.

After making an impassioned speech to the team, both coaches headed out to the field to talk strategy and were announced on the big screens. Ron politely smiled, but Braylon took the opportunity to show the crowd his dance moves. Many of the players quickly joined in much to Braylon’s delight! 

During practice, Braylon alternated between giving interviews, handing out autographs, giving advice to the players, and meeting people on the sidelines. Kids were lining up to get him to sign their roster cards that had Braylon’s picture in the corner. Braylon even got to meet Coach Jack, who also wished to be the Panthers’ Associate Head Coach two summers prior. 

Braylon’s night ended with an invitation by the team to come back and be the Keep Pounding drummer for their upcoming game against the Saints. Braylon and his parents were beyond grateful and made memories to last a lifetime.

“Be strong, be brave, stay positive, have a heart, and go cats.” – Coach Beam

Click here to see Braylon’s wish come true!

Wish Kid Parker

I wish to play football with the Carolina Panthers!

Seven-year-old Parker Cowherd and his family had just been through a lot. It was November 2015 and he had been diagnosed with a rare form of brain and spinal cancer. Soon after, he underwent surgery and began chemotherapy.  Then Make-A-Wish® Central & Western North Carolina got involved. 

“Make-A-Wish reached out to us and asked what his wish would be,” said his mother, Allison. “We knew from the start it was going to be something with the Panthers.”

On May 31, 2016, Parker’s wish to play football with the Panthers became a reality.

First, he was introduced to the players and coaches at the morning team meeting.  “Seeing him walk into the team meeting – all the players cheering and clapping for him – he was pretty star struck during that moment, but it was really great to see the guys so into this as well,” Allison said.

Then Parker went up to the football offices to sign his contract (and receive his candy compensation). Next up was a trip to the equipment room to get his practice gear.

Greg Olsen took over from there. He showed Parker around the locker room, and Parker helped him get ready for the OTA session.  “These are special kids. They have such an unbelievable outlook on life,” Olsen said. “It puts a lot of things in perspective. I was really fortunate to spend the day with Parker.”

They walked onto the practice field side by side, with Parker sporting his own 88 jersey.

During practice, Parker shadowed the tight ends and even offered Olsen some advice.

“Every time I turned around, there he was standing right with our group,” Olsen said. “He told me one time to get my pads down.”

Parker was given the honor of breaking the team down at the end of practice. He and his family then walked off the field, along the path that takes you past the bold “Keep Pounding” signage.  It’s the Panthers’ motto. It’s the Cowherds’, too.

“It’s just what we say around our house now,” Allison said. “We say, ‘Keep faith, keep hope, keep together, keep pounding.'”

Click here to see Parker’s wish come true!