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Jericho wished to create a robot that delivered medicine

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“ When asked what my wish might be, I wanted to make it count... ”

- Jericho

In honor of our 35th Anniversary in 2019, we will be focusing on some of the more than 8,600 wishes we have granted in our history. We’re delighted to give you an update on this very special wish we granted back in 2007.

In the middle of the night in September 2003, Jericho woke up crying, complaining about his aching leg. Despite his being a perfectly healthy 3-year-old, his pain and crying increased so much his parents took him to the emergency room. Less than six hours later, he was diagnosed with leukemia. From that point on, his family felt like they’d “fallen off a cliff together.”

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Jericho can’t recall many aspects of his cancer treatment. But he says, “My time with Make-A-Wish was different – I remember every part of it.” During the time Jericho was undergoing chemotherapy, his doctor estimated that he took about 4,000 pills. Jericho noticed that for many children in the hospital, just seeing their medications being delivered was very stressful. “When asked what my wish might be, I wanted to make it count,” he says. Ultimately, he chose to create a robot. Instead of a nurse bringing out pills on a metal tray, he thought a robot could help make their experience less daunting and even a little fun. “I helped design a happy-go-lucky locomotive robot to spark a few moments of joy during what might seem like a harrowing experience.”

A robotics company in Pittsburgh, PA, heard about Jericho’s wish and donated one of the company’s autonomous mobile robots.  The design firm Gensler worked with him to develop a more kid-friendly facade for the robot, and the “J.R. Railroad” was born. Piloted by a train conductor doll with the voice of Don LaFontaine, the J.R. Railroad was unveiled on May 31, 2007 at UCSF Children’s Hospital. It rode the hallways saying things like “thanks from the bottom of my caboose” and “choo choo, gotta run.” Now a freshman at UC Berkeley, Jericho spent four years on the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area youth board, ultimately serving as co-chair with his twin sister.

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