Most children choose to go somewhere, meet someone, or have something, but it’s not as common for a child to use their wish to help others. After Saul was diagnosed with a hip tumor in February 2018, he received three months of biweekly treatments at the Pediatric Infusion Center at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center to keep his tumor from growing. Following this successful treatment, Saul’s medical team was able to remove his tumor in July 2018. After being told about Make-A-Wish during one of his many visits, Saul was encouraged to apply for a wish. “I’m pretty happy,” said Saul. “I thought, ‘Why don’t I just donate my wish to the Cancer Center?’”
Jenny Belke, a child life specialist at UC Davis, worked with Saul’s wish team over the course of a few months in order to help fulfill his wish of making the Pediatric Infusion Center a “happier place.” Belke was not Saul’s initial connection to Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area, but she is an experienced referral source who has been connected to the organization for years. “Referring children and teens to Make-A-Wish is like helping prepare children for Christmas,” says Belke. “Encouraging them to make their list and giving them something to look forward to.”
Thanks to Saul’s generosity, Belke’s guidance, and some generous in-kind donations, Make-A-Wish was able to provide over $8,000 worth of upgrades to the Pediatric Infusion Center, including fun activities and useful tools for parents and patients in the reception area. The items added include two literature racks, a ‘meet your team’ staff photo board, an After-Mouse touch table with 12 games, a KwikBoost mobile device charging station, a game station security box, and an iPad charging station. The new additions are fun for kids and useful for parents, and also serve as a way for everyone to take their minds off the difficult experiences they may be going through.
All wishes have the power to positively impact many lives, but Saul’s wish will provide a positive impact for many years to come on UC Davis patients and their families. The medical staff at the Cancer Center were also thrilled and inspired.
“Saul’s wish came as a complete shock to me and left me speechless. I have never heard of a patient being so selfless,” says Belke. “That amount of compassion and thoughtfulness is rare and shows truly how amazing he is!”
When Saul’s mom, Maria Dominguez, was asked how she felt when she found out what Saul had chosen for his wish, she said she was surprised and proud. She says that Saul’s wish has brought him and his brothers closer together, and his selfless wish has set a good example. “We’re proud of him [for] being unselfish and hope [his] brothers follow suit,” she says.
At the end of Saul’s wish celebration, he was surprised with a traditional “end of treatment” ceremony put on by the Pediatric Infusion Center. Saul is now healthy and no longer receiving treatment, and his wish has left a “happy” mark on the facility.
Even through his difficult experiences, Saul remains positive. He has made it through treatments, surgery, high school graduation, and is now gaining work experience through two part-time jobs. “I try to make the most of life,” he says.