In 2009, Dan of New Castle, PA, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer. As a self-proclaimed foodie who loved pasta, fresh bread and toasted sandwiches, going through chemotherapy was an especially difficult time because he could not taste or eat much. Therefore, to celebrate the end of his treatments, he chose a unique wish that was all about food.
For his wish, Dan and his family traveled the streets of New York City taking in the sights and sounds but most importantly eating at New York City’s best restaurants such as Gramercy Tavern, John's Pizzeria and Gotham Bar & Grill. To this day, Dan’s wish experience still has a profound impact on his life. “This wish meant that even after all of the suffering I went through, there was still time to live, time to laugh, and time to eat,” he says. His joy and resiliency are benefits that Make-A-Wish® hopes all wish kids feel as a result of their wishes.
Recently, Dan applied for the Kurt R. Weiss Scholarship for Wish Kids and was honored at the scholarship reception with the Mylan Best Essay Award. He wrote, “I feel a responsibility to live my life in a manner that is worthy of the love that I have been shown.” He credits his family, friends, doctors and priests for all of the support he received during his illness.
Next fall, Dan will be pursuing a degree in Music at Westminster College so that he can share his musical talents with others. During his high school years, he could often be seen playing piano for guests in the Jameson Hospital lobby, performing at the Beatnik Café, and performing with his brothers at various venues. He hopes to integrate his interest in music with religious ministry as well.
Dan’s message is powerful. While he says it would be easy to shy away from challenges, he finds courage in “knowing that I have already achieved things that I never thought were possible.” With this mantra, Dan will be successful in conquering all obstacles that he may face throughout his life.