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Brian's Wish Comes Full Circle

  • Brian going whale watching in Maine

  • Brian on a pebble beach in Maine

  • Brian and his family in Maine

  • Brian getting ready to pet a seal on his wish

  • Brian gets a hug from Smokey the Bear

  • Brian and his volunteers Dana Reynolds and Carolyn Wirth

  • Graduation Day at Clarion University 2011

  • Brian and his girlfriend Katie kayaking by killer whales in Kaikoura, New Zealand on New Year's Day 2013

  • Brian in Milford Sounds, South New Zealand

  • Brian and his girlfriend Katie in South New Zealand near Queenstown

  • Brian playing the guitar on the beach

  • Brian and his car in New Zealand

  • Directions to locations around the world

  • Camping in Milford Sound

  • Skydiving over Fox Glacier on the west coast of New Zealand

  • Rivendell

  • Brian pond skimming at Seven Springs

  • Brian and his brother Nick watching a Pens playoff game at a pizzeria in Bellefonte

“ It is pretty sweet how it all came back full circle. ”

- Brian

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.”

Hiking in New ZealandBrian’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.”

Our family is truly blessed to have met all the wonderful people that we have met in our ordeal with leukemia, an event that could have had a negative impact but did just the opposite. Our family has experienced many wonders of this world, and true love of God, family and friends. Thank you Make-A-Wish for being part of our lives! ”

— Brian's mom

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