A passion for figuring out how things work and a love of being outdoors have always been part of eleven year old Joshua’s life. In 2012, Joshua had to begin to figure out how to negotiate what he loves to do while dealing with a severe form of muscular dystrophy. He is no longer able to maintain his garden or care for the caterpillars he feeds and raises into butterflies without assistance. Nevertheless, Joshua is a happy kid determined to play with his friends and spend time outdoors despite his limitations.
“He gets frustrated when his body won’t do what he wants, but he bounces back pretty quick,” Joshua’s mother said.
After learning Joshua’s condition might qualify him, Joshua’s father contacted Make-A-Wish. Having seen and nurtured butterflies in his own yard during the summer months, he wished to see Monarch butterflies in their winter home. Make-A-Wish sent Joshua, his parents, and his younger sister from their home in Plano to Pismo Beach, California where they were given a tour of the Monarch Butterfly Grove, one of the largest overwintering sites for Monarchs in the Western United States. The volunteers were stunned by how much Joshua already knew about the butterflies. When two fell into a pond and almost died, Joshua helped the park rangers save the more injured of the pair by drying her wings and sitting with her until she could fly again.
After a full day of learning and interacting with the showy insects, the family visited some other attractions during their stay including the California Space Center and Universal Studios. At the end of the trip, Joshua was sad to go home and wanted to keep exploring California, although he still tells his parents that the butterflies were by far the highlight of the trip.
Joshua’s mother said this trip gave him something to remember and hold onto when he is frustrated. His enthusiasm for science and nature didn’t stop when he was diagnosed, and through his wish Joshua was able to follow his dreams without his health holding him back.