"Having my wish granted made me feel like a normal kid that was not struggling with an illness."
My Make-A-Wish journey started in the summer of 1999, when I met my wish granters, Ron and Julienne Lentz for the first time. There were so many things I considered when choosing my wish. I wanted a Nintendo 64, I also wanted to meet Sammy Sosa, or be a police officer or a firefighter. In the end, I decided that I wanted my wish to be to go on a Disney Cruise.
On September 6th, 1999 my wish began with a limousine coming to pick up my family up for the airport. My wish granters were great and much to our surprise, were already at the airport waiting for us at our gate to see us off on our trip.
The Disney Cruise Line traveled to the Bahamas and to Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. On the afternoon of one of our days at Castaway Cay, we came back to our room to find a note that asked us to go meet the captain of the ship on the bridge. When we got to the bridge, we met the captain, two other Make-A-Wish families and, my favorite part, Captain Mickey.
The next day was the end of our cruise and my wish had ended, or at least that’s what I thought.
Someone came up to us saying, “Follow me Warfel family!” We then boarded a bus and it took us to the JFK Space Center where an astronaut was waiting for us to give me and my family a private tour with special access to places that other tours can’t see. We saw a test launch, got to go on the launchpad and see a close up of the rocket. After the tour we got back on the bus and I definitely thought that then my wish was officially over.
But, to my surprise again, the bus pulled up to the Contemporary Hotel at Walt Disney World! Our family went to Universal Studios, Animal Kingdom, and had breakfast with some of the Disney Characters.
After spending a week on my wish trip, it is definitely something that I will never forget for the rest of my entire life. It boosted my spirits up and gave me the strength to keep fighting and not give up.
Wishes are important for kids with critical illness because it gives them something to look forward to and a reason to keep fighting before the Wish is even granted. And then when they get back, to have a story to tell people after the wish was granted. My Make-A-Wish trip was something that my family needed at the time for a chance to spend time together and not worry about going to doctor’s appointments all the time.
Hope has always gotten me through the hard times. When I was ever feeling down, I would reflect back on my wish and it would make me feel happy and I would turn my negotiable attitude about the situation with my medical condition into a positive attitude, knowing that I can do anything I want if I set my mind to it.
My wish was twenty years ago but I
remember it as though it were yesterday.