As a child, Brian’s world was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with leukemia.
However, in 1994, Make-A-Wish® granted Brian, then five, his dream wish of whale watching in Maine, helping to bring light back into his life.
While in Maine, Brian and his family went whale watching, rode on a lobster boat, fed seals, camped in an RV and met Smokey the Bear. As Brian described his wish, he said, “The immediate impact was the sense of family unity, hope and perseverance, realizing it was a stepping stone to moving on with my life.” Brian’s wish helped him to realize the importance of “not taking every day for granted.”
Brian’s senior project in high school was a soccer tournament, where all of the proceeds benefited Make-A-Wish. He loved being able to give back to Make-A-Wish and plans to do so even more by volunteering. “In the future, once I’ve established a path for myself, I would definitely give back to the organization that did so much for me.”
Now, at 24-years-old, Brian’s wish has come full circle. After graduating from Clarion University, where he majored in Political Science and minored in Pre-Law, Brian decided he wanted to spend the year in New Zealand. After talking with a neighbor who had moved out there, Brian realized, he too wanted to embark on an adventure.
"Just do it, because you never know when something [like leukemia] might hinder your chance...if you have the chance--just do it," said Brian about traveling and taking chances.
Over New Year’s, Brian and his girlfriend went whale watching in Kaikoura, New Zealand. They spent hours amazed as they followed the whales through the water. Being within arm’s reach of a 15-foot killer whale really puts things into perspective. Seeing whales once again made Brian reflect on his wish. “It is pretty sweet how it all came back full circle.”