What does it look like when a wish comes true?
When asked to draw a picture of his wish, our 10-year old son drew a picture of LEGO bricks... He then told the kindly volunteers in our living room that he wanted to meet the master builders who had designed the Lord of the Rings LEGO sets.
Our son goes by “JT,” but his birth certificate actually reads “Jacob Treebeard.” The middle name comes from Middle Earth: Treebeard is a character in The Lord of the Rings, and I’ve read to him from this book from the time he was born. When I got to the part about Treebeard, JT was only a couple months old, living on the Hematology/Oncology floor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where the doctors were only beginning to understand the extent of his life-threatening genetic immunodeficiency. Through the years and infections and lengthy hospital stays, there were many things JT could not do from the confines of his hospital bed, but he could always build LEGO sets. And when he battled through his bone-marrow transplant and then a variety of transplant-related complications, he always took courage that his immune system was growing slowly and steadily, like a tree.
So JT’s one wish was to visit LEGO headquarters and meet the guys who had designed the character he’s named for. When the volunteers left, I told him that it was a pretty big wish. I didn’t want him to be disappointed if it couldn’t be granted. Then we got the call… This was not something that I could ever do for him, but Make-A-Wish was going to make it happen.
What followed was literally the trip of a lifetime. Make-A-Wish took care of everything, from a personal tour of the LEGO factory to two-day tickets to the LEGOLAND rides right outside our hotel window. It was, in JT’s own words, “Epic!”
He will never forget that first morning, when our guide Kalle led us through the LEGO museum and then into a bright, spacious meeting room. There at the table were Bjarke and Jordan, the two master builders who had designed LEGO Treebeard himself. For JT, it was like meeting the president: these guys are his movie stars. They were so great – so kind, so interested, so genuine, so humble, so present with us. How could they know how much this meant to a kid who’s had to fight for his life? They talked to our son like a fellow builder, discussing special pieces, telling stories about the design process, and asking his opinion about the many autographed sets they gave him as gifts. Words don’t do the scene justice. It was truly overwhelming.
So what does it look like when a wish comes true? It looks like kindness. When you see it, it hits you hard, right in the chest, and it makes your eyes water. It looks like a young boy beaming with fierce joy, eyes shining, happy and alive.
We are deeply, deeply grateful. Thank you.
Jacob, 11, diagnosed with a life-threatening genetic immunodeficiency, wished to go to the LEGO headquarters.