Devin played in his first high school football game this past fall. His mother beamed with pride. There was a time when Devin and his family were not sure he would ever play football.
When Devin and his family found out about Make-A-Wish, Devin was in the process of battling cancer: 40 weeks of chemo and 5 weeks of radiation. His mother described him as a shy child, until he got word that he qualified for a wish! Talking and dreaming about what his wish would be distracted Devin from cancer and treatments. "My child is shy and would not talk much at all," said Devin's mother, "Afterward, he would talk almost every day about where to go and what to do. Great distractions!"
A few months later, Devin and his family traveled to Hawaii. The plane ride over was the first for all of them! They stayed on Wahihi Beach in Oahu. His family rented a Jeep and rode around the island, taking in the beauty and splendor of the Hawaiian landscape. They also went snorkeling, rode in a dune buggy, went to a pineapple farm and visited Pearl Harbor.
Their favorite part of the trip was a special addition to a typical Hawaii vacation. When Devin was contemplating what to wish for, he wanted to combine his love for football with a dream vacation. The University of Hawaii invited Devin and his family to attend a football practice. They also attended their Saturday game, with not just your average seat, but a seat on the sidelines! Devin was able to meet the team and coaches. They loved feeling all of the positive energy from the team, and it inspired Devin to become more involved with some of his "old" dreams that were put on halt due to the cancer.
The following letter was sent to Make-A-Wish by Devin's mother:
"I just want to let you know what a wonderful experience, with a lifetime of memories my son, Devin's, Make-A-Wish was. When my son was first diagnosed last year with cancer, I would not even talk to anyone about a "wish". I believed it to be something for another family, a family of a child that needed a "wish". My son was getting treatment and we were moving on.
BUT from the first meeting until we left, Devin could not have had better team to help us understand and enjoy this wish. Nothing was left undone.
My child was truly excited about this for a year and a half. Sometimes during the dark days we would talk about where we would go, what we would see. That is the power of a wish. The hope and joy it gives before, during and after.
There are angels on earth, we met them here at home in a small office in Ridgeland and in Hawaii where they enjoyed the football game as much as we did.
We will carry these wonderful memories for a lifetime, and hopefully replace some that were not as wonderful. I really cannot thank all of you enough!"
In a recent Wish Impact Study, results showed that after the wish is granted, wish kids are empowered to take back control of their lives and keep up the fight against their life-threatening medical conditions. Devin did just that. His mother put it best: "It sparked a fire that he can continue to work at those dreams; cancer did not have to stop them."