Friends and family gathered inside of a local Buffalo Wild Wings with a cake and an even bigger surprise. What twelve year old, Ethan, of Lake Villa didn’t know is that he was about to begin the journey of a lifetime. Ethan would soon find out that his wish to go to California to meet Jason Blundell and David Vonderhaar of Treyarch Studios, a video game development company in California was becoming a reality.
“I was surprised and didn’t have a clue until my family told me that I was going to California.”
Ethan was diagnosed with a life-threatening hematologic disorder. While being treated at Lurie’s Children Hospital, Ethan and his family were introduced to Make-A-Wish Illinois.
"We automatically went into fight mode and as parents in support mode for for our child," Ethan's parents wrote. "You suppress a lot of the emotional challenges along the process and work toward getting back to normal. Being able to make a wish for our child really helped show him how fortunate he is."
Ethan is very smart with a good sense of humor. He’s athletic and plays Lacrosse and football. When he’s not outside being active, he’s inside playing video games with his friends online. Gaming plays a huge role in Ethan’s life and he was interested in meeting the developers of his very favorite games.
“When I grow up, I would like to get involved in making games, either in coding or animation,” Ethan shared.
The game designers were very generous, sharing their passion for the craft as well as lots of goodies, games and other merchandise with Ethan.
“It took my breath away because I never thought that this would ever happen to me,” says Ethan.
While in California, in addition to visiting Treyarch Studios, he and his family were also able to visit Universal Studios Hollywood.
"It brings tears to my eyes when I think about how special the entire organization is," Ethan's mom said. "Our family is forever grateful."