When he was just three, Stephen was diagnosed with a life-threatening neurological condition. Seizures continue to dictate much of his daily focus, from the types of foods he is able to eat, to the activities he can do, and who will stay with him as he can't be left alone.
Now 17, Stephen, who lives in Skokie, has a great sense of humor and displays strength and courage in the face of difficulty.
Stephen wished to see the New Year’s Eve firework display in Sydney and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. Make-A-Wish Illinois, working with Make-A-Wish Australia, arranged a week-long trip for Stephen and his family to visit the land Down Under. He met koala bears and kangaroos and toured the Sydney Opera House. After ringing in the New Year in the heart of Sydney, the family traveled north to Fitzroy Island where they got to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone enjoyed watching Stephen having fun pointing at new sea creatures and schools of fish, and they were amazed at his coordination and stamina.
This wish gave Stephen and his family the opportunity to have a much-needed break from all the doctor visits and treatments. His mom, Christine, said, “It was wonderful to be able to focus on Stephen for positive rather than disease-related reasons. The trip was a week of continuous amazing experiences, one after another.”
“Whenever we watch the New Year's Eve fireworks, we will always remember Stephen's special wish trip.”