In honor of our 35th Anniversary in 2019, we will be focusing on some of the more than 8,500 wishes we have granted in our history. Here is an update on a wish we granted back in 2007.
At the beginning of his sophomore year of high school, Sean began to experience lingering pain in his leg. When the pain reached the point where he needed to see a doctor, Sean learned he had a pediatric bone tumor. On his first day of chemotherapy, Sean’s social worker let him know that he was eligible for a wish. As he persevered through treatment, he began to reflect on what he might want.
“I lost so many of my personal freedoms as a result of chemotherapy,” Sean recalls. “It was dangerous to travel because of my compromised immune system. It was difficult to be active due to very low cell counts. Make-A-Wish gave me the opportunity to do what I wanted.”
While undergoing treatment, Sean spent a lot of time watching racing on TV and began to develop an interest in driving himself. Racing also struck Sean as a sport that he’d be able to participate in for years to come. “After my hip was replaced, my orthopedic surgeon said that I really wouldn’t be able to compete in any sports. I wouldn’t be able to run, and I might have difficulty standing for long periods of time,” he says. “In racing, all you have to be able to do is switch between pedals, something I could do.”
Just before heading off to college, with his cancer in remission, Sean locked in his wish to become a race car driver. His wish took him to Infineon Raceway, where he attended two racing courses in Formula Mazda cars. “It was exhilarating and truly empowering,” he says. “I went from being a regular driver to a race car driver.”
Sean remembers his racing courses quite vividly. “If I had to point to a specific moment,” he says, “it would probably have been the feeling of flying into a turn at about a hundred and forty miles per hour and knowing I had the skills to be in control.”
Today, Sean is a healthy 30-year-old, who is married and lives with his spouse, two dogs, and three cats. He works in the tech industry as a finance manager and enjoys going to the gym and playing racquetball. He looks back on his wish to become a race car driver fondly. “I am still a very good driver today and regularly race go-karts, and—excuse the boast!—win,” he says.
“It gave me a great experience which I wouldn't have been able to obtain on my own,” says Sean. “I also felt like it helped to give me a certain degree of closure and made the healing process that much easier.”
You can change lives. When you donate to Make-A-Wish, you're giving children renewed strength to fight their illnesses and bringing families closer together. Learn more and donate today.