Lukas,4, of Fisher, enjoys tractors, cars, chocolate, and camping. Lukas is a selfless and caring young boy who delights in others’ happiness and puts his twin sister and family’s needs before his own. This may not seem like your typical toddler, but for Lukas, his life has been anything but typical.
Being diagnosed at birth with a very rare, life-threatening and complex heart defect has caused Lukas to have to undergo eight surgeries, three of which have been open heart, and countless other procedures to treat his condition. Since Lukas was born with this condition, he has had to spend his life in and out of hospitals.
It was during these many hospital visits that Lukas was referred to Make-A-Wish® by his cardiologist at the Heart Institute for Children at Hope Children’s Hospital. About a year before he made his wish, Lukas fell in love with the idea of having a camper. Make-A-Wish made his dream a reality and now Lukas can now camp with his family without worrying about temperature, germs, or infections that are often a major concern during their traditional tent camping experiences.
Lukas’ volunteer wish granters Tim Voges and Tom Lea went above and beyond for the young boy when they moved his wish reveal date up so that he could be surprised with his camper at the Allerton Trails Half-Marathon & 10K Race, an event that donates all of its proceeds to Make-A-Wish® Illinois and where local area wish children award medals to race finishers. This year, participants were able to share the power of a wish® as they raced through the beautiful Robert Allerton Park and Retreat Center in Monticello.
PHOTO: Lukas inspects his new camper shortly after it is revealed to him.
In a post-race interview with the News-Gazette, Tim Voges reflected on the experience, saying, “You learn a lot from these kids, how they triumph over the things they have. They’ve gone through so much and have such a positive outlook on things, and they’re always smiling.”
When asked how he felt about his wish, Lukas gave a big thumbs-up of approval. In fact, to commemorate the event and the excitement of the day, Lukas and his family spent the night in their new camper. Upon Lukas’ request, the family camped in their driveway—complete with campfire, marshmallows, and plenty of smiles.