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Surfing under the Costa Rican sun

Drew and his family surfing

“ To share the fun and hope for all of us was amazing. ”


- Drew's mom

Drew is an outgoing and athletic guy who would rather ditch the Chicago winters for warm weather. He even attends school at Lynn University in Florida, where he enjoys the sunshine and manages the school’s lacrosse team. After learning that he qualified for a wish, Drew knew exactly what he wanted to do; surf in Costa Rica.

Wish child Drew

Born with a congenital heart disease, Drew underwent his first of three open heart surgeries at six days old. His heart pumps with two chambers, requiring him to take daily medications and consistently visit his cardiologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

“It’s a challenge living with it,” his mom said. “He tries to live a normal life, but it’s always there in the back of your head knowing that this heart isn’t going to last.”

While the family was familiar with Make-A-Wish and had attended events like Wish Ball, they didn’t realize Drew could qualify for a wish until his cardiologist mentioned it in 2017. Two years later, Drew’s wish to surf in Costa Rica was in its final planning stages.

He decided to bring his mom, dad and older brother to Costa Rica with him. But, little did he know that his two older sisters would be meeting him on the trip. Dressing up in costumes and disguises, Drew had no idea that his one sister and her husband even took the same Copa Airlines flight as him.

“We have this video of when we got to Costa Rica and the girls surprised him,” his mom said. “He didn’t even recognize them on the plane!”

Drew zip lined, visited a wildlife park, jet skied, saw volcanos and went on a boat cruise. They were able to see many of Costa Rica’s wildlife, including birds, monkeys, frogs, sloths and even a 200-pound crocodile. Drew’s favorite part of the trip was being able to surf.

“It was just amazing,” his mom shared. “Oh my gosh, it was so much fun!”

According to Drew’s mom, it was special for the whole family to share the “magical experience” together.

“It’s been a really stressful experience on the whole family and to be able to be in Costa Rica together to share the fun and hope for all of us was amazing,” said his mom. “When you go through a life-threatening diagnosis, you feel like you’ve lost time, and so having that completely joyous family time was just amazing.”

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